By: Nan Jensen, FCS Agent
Eating local foods in season provides fresh products with exceptional flavor and nutritional value, helps protect the environment by minimizing the amount of miles food has to travel, and supports our local economy.
Here in Florida, we have lots of choices from avocados and greens in the fall to watermelon and blueberries in the summer. While it may feel like spring, it is still winter here in Florida and with winter comes strawberry season. Our state is known for being the largest producer of strawberries during the winter, with peak months of production in February and March.
Strawberries are good to eat and good for us. They are low in calories, about 55 in a cup and loaded with vitamin C. When buying berries, look for bright red berries with fresh green caps on, once the caps are removed, an enzyme that destroys the vitamin C is activated. Also, visually check each package, making sure there are no signs of mold growth. If one berry is molded, those spores will have traveled throughout the entire package. Buying a quart of berries will yield about four cups of sliced strawberries.
Most people buy berries from the local grocery store, a farmer’s market or roadside stand, but more adventuresome folks may want to try to pick their own. While many of those farms have disappeared over the years, there a few still opening their fields. To help you find a u-pick field and recipes for your berries visit the Florida Strawberry Growers Association.
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