It’s spring, and farmers markets are bursting with strawberries. Strawberries are always a nutritious choice and a wonderful treat. The strawberry got its name from the common practice of growing berries under straw to protect them from winter cold and late spring frosts. A member of the rose family, the strawberry sometimes gives off a rose-like aroma.
When picking or buying packages of strawberries, look for ripe, shiny and brilliantly colored berries without any soft or brown patches. Never buy strawberries that are green or hard, or that look dry, dull or wrinkled. When buying berries packed in a basket, check the bottom to see if there is a juice stain. This means that the strawberries at the bottom are crushed.
Always dispose of any berries that have signs of mildew or are rotten, as they’ll contaminate the rest. Refrigerating strawberries ruins the flavor, and the strawberry aroma is easily picked up by other foods in the refrigerator. Store the berries in a cool place. Strawberries should be lightly rinsed, not washed, before serving, and eaten as soon as possible.
Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. One cup of strawberries provides 3 grams of fiber and only 46 calories*.
This recipe for Strawberry and Spinach Salad with blue cheese crumbles and a honey balsamic dressing is one of the “berry” best ways to serve strawberries.
Strawberry and Blue Cheese Spinach Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing
1 pound baby spinach leaves, triple washed
2 cups strawberries, leaves and stems removed and sliced
1/2 small purple onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
Honey Balsamic Dressing:
Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl; set aside.
In a saucepan, heat the stevia or honey, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil over medium heat until the stevia or honey dissolves. Remove mixture from heat. When the dressing is cool, toss it with the salad mixture until well combined.
You can store and transport this fabulous salad in the MEDport Fit and Fresh Fruit and Veggie Bowl. The convenient removable ice pack keeps foods chilled and fresh for up to 6 hours. The generous removable inner cup is perfect for the delicious Honey Balsamic Dressing in this recipe, or for your favorite dip, yogurt or cheeses. The Fit and Fresh Fruit and Veggie Bowl helps with portion control as well as safe food storage. Perfect for use at school, work, gym or any outing. Easy to clean, top rack dishwasher safe.
*Additional information provided by Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, nutrition and health education specialist, Barton County, University of Missouri Extension