STRAWBERRY OH MERRY!


The versatile Strawberry!

Do you love strawberries? I L-O-V-E strawberries! If there is one thing that I can eat all-day, everyday, this would probably be one of them. Okay, okay, mangoes & mangosteen are top of the list too. Oh you know me, I like to eat to my heart's content (pun intended). 


Fresh strawberries

This vibrant red fruit with small green leaves on its crown and covered in tiny yellow dots remind me of the merriest season of all - Christmas! But this oh so delicious produce is abundant (and did I say very affordable) during the Philippine's summer months of March, April and May. Indulge me for the entirety of this article as I heighten my desire (and yours hopefully) for this fragrant, juicy and sweet heavenly creation.


Fragaria X Ananassa is the scientific name of strawberry
 
Scientifically called Fragaria X Ananassa, Strawberry is native to European countries, having France as the origin of the first garden in the 18th century. Although berries gathered from the forest to be planted to gardens believed to have started since the 1300s.

Conical-shaped red fruit - this is strawberry

On the average, this conical-shaped red fruit weighs about 25grams with about three centimeters in diameter. Strawberry fields bloom and ripe for the picking during the summer months of March, April and May but there are some strawberries that bear fruit year-long, these are usually called "ever-bearing."


To date, strawberry production has been enormous, with several countries like USA, Italy, Japan, Spain, Germany and Russia as top producers.  


La Trinidad, Benguet where most strawberries are grown

In the Philippines, La Trinidad in Benguet is the major source of fresh strawberries. Farmers harvest the ripened fruits with the crown (the green leaves attached to the fruit) - the overripe berries are removed to avoid other strawberries from spoilage.


I remember one visit in Baguio City when I bought three kilos of fresh strawberries and were cramping like sardines in the basket, most strawberries at the bottom were dripping of its juice when I got back to Manila. Good thing I kept munching them during the long travel back.


Have a serving of 8 pieces of strawberries

One serving of about eight to ten pieces or one cup with about 236 grams provides 45 kilocalories. Strawberries are excellent sources of vitamins for a healthier you.


On a diet? Eat oatmeal with strawberries

Strawberries are low in calorie and rich in fiber, a perfect companion for dieters or would want to maintain their weight. Fiber slows the absorption of sugar in the blood and when eaten in moderation, can help fight Type2 Diabetes. Fiber-rich fruits help us to feel full and prevent us from further snacking.  


Strawberry Jam and wheat bread? Yum!

Since strawberry is a powerful source of vitamin C and the benefits of this super vitamin are endless, Vitamin C is vital to the production of collagen which helps improve our skin's elasticity.  For healthy, wrinkle-free skin even as you age, keep munching on strawberries and you will defy age naturally. Aside from vitamin C, ellagic acid aids in the destruction of collagen after being exposed to the harmful UV-B rays.


Not a fan of milk? How about yogurt & strawberries

If you think milk is the only source to strengthen bones, think again. With the presence of manganese in strawberries, you will have healthy bones with your strawberry consumption. Manganese is an essential mineral for the creation of enzymes that build and maintain healthy bone structures plus assists in the absorption of calcium.
  

The many forms of strawberries

Strawberry is very versatile. There are many benefits when consuming strawberries and there are even more ways of getting your own fix of strawberries.


Colorful platter

Cake creators use the fresh fruit slices and flavored-syrup as garnishing, making each cake served more appealing to the senses. 


Cupcakes & strawberries

Pasties create varieties of strawberries from cheesecake to cupcakes, tarts and pies.


Frozen varieties of strawberries

Frozen versions with choices of strawberry sherbet, strawberry gelato, strawberry ice cream, strawberry sundae, strawberry shake and strawberry mochi (ice cream covered in rice cake popularized in Japan and now readily available in the Philippines) can be found in your favorite restaurants or cafes. 
 
Strawberry Salad


At the comforts of your home, you can always whip up your own strawberry fix - add fresh slices to your oatmeal for breakfast, strawberry jams spread thinly or generously over whole wheat bread for snacks and top the fresh slices of strawberries to your store-bought strawberry yogurt to heighten your strawberry dose. If you prefer salads, strawberries can highlight your plate of greens. Have you read my recipe for a healthy STRAWBERRY SALAD?


With the abundance of strawberries from fresh to frozen, you can get merry with the nutrient-packed strawberries, all-year-round. Strawberry is part of my Monday Madness section where I dish out of deliriously delicious dishes, desserts and produce that I go crazy while devouring them!


What are your favorite strawberry desserts and dishes? Would love to hear from you! 


Pie Rivera is a food columnist of Republic of 7107 Island Travel Magazine. For subscriptions to the magazine, you may email them at subscription@7107magazine.ph. 

Feel free to email me at eattoyourheartscontent@gmail.com - I love to hear from you.

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All photos in this site were captured by Pie Rivera unless otherwise stated.

All rights reserved. Eat To Your Heart's Content.

Some photos were captured by Mike Caballes and Ronald Concepcion.

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