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Strawberries

Strawberries are the most popular berries in the USA and the world. They are so popular that they are grown in almost state in the United States and ninety-four percent of all households consume strawberries. Americans consume 3.4 pounds of fresh strawberry per capita, with an additional 1.8 pounds of frozen strawberries per capita. Add those together and you’ll get an average consumption of 5.2 pounds of strawberries per capita!

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Rosales
  • Family: Rosaceae
  • Genus: Fragaria
  • Species: F. x ananassa
  • Binomial name: Fragia x ananassa

Strawberry Trivia

  • Fifty-three percent of seven to nine-year-old kids in the United States picked strawberries as their favorite fruit (not only of berries but of all fruits)
  • Strawberries are the first fruits that ripen in the spring season.
  • If laid out side by side, all of the strawberries that are grown in California will go around the world at least 15 times.
  • Strawberries are the only fruit in the world that have seeds on the exterior.
  • Ancient Romans used the strawberry to treat everything from sore throats to depression.

Strawberry Buying Guide

When picking strawberries, size doesn’t matter, color does. Look for strawberries that are a vibrant red in color, those are the ones that are picked when they were perfectly ripe. Since strawberries don’t ripen once they’re picked off of the plant, what you see is what you get. Light-colored strawberries are underripe and they will be aa bit tart. Strawberries that are too dark, on the other hand, may be overripe. If you’re buying strawberries to make jam or pies, overripe berries are okay to buy, just make sure that they’re not bruised or rotten.

Since most commercial strawberries are packed in plastic clamshell boxes, examine them thoroughly to see that no bad ones are hidden in the middle.

Another sign to look at is the leaves. The fresher the strawberries, the fresher their leaves. The more wilted the leaves look, the longer that strawberry has been sitting on the shelf.

And finally, the most important thing to check with strawberries is the scent. The more fragrant the strawberry is, the tastier it will be.

Strawberry Production & Farming in Texas

Strawberry production in Texas has been a roller coaster ride. At the turn of the 1900s, strawberry production was limited to family gardens and farms. This dropped significantly during the onset of the second world war. But after the war, production ramped up again and in 1948, strawberries were the most important crop that was being produced in Texas. This slowly declined until 1958 where Texas production of strawberries only accounted for less than one percent of the total strawberry production in the country. In the 1960s, strawberry production picked up and was flourishing until the 90s where importation of strawberries started to hurt local producers. By 2004, production in Texas was down to 0.02 percent (1/50th of a percent!) of national production.

Nowadays, strawberry production is picking up again, but this time, in line with the public’s demand for organic and pesticide-free strawberries. More and more strawberry farms in Texas are starting up again, offering pesticide-free options.

Pesticides:

With strawberries being the most popular berry in the world, it is not surprising that strawberries have also been found to be the highest contaminated fruit in the world. With increased demand comes increased pressures to have as much production as possible. Seventy percent of 36,000 samples of strawberries tested positive for at least 20 different kinds of pesticides.

All the more reason to look for sustainably grown strawberries without any pesticide use.

Geography:

Depending on your growing zone, you have to start your strawberry plant either in the spring or fall. They do well in raised beds and containers, as long as it is well-drained. Strawberries require at least 8 hours of sun a day. The soil should be slightly acidic with a pH range of 5.5-6.8.

To find out which strawberry variant grows well in your area, check with your local garden. Since strawberries can grow almost everywhere in the continental United States, it is very possible that there is a variant that is well suited wherever you are.

Packaging:

Commercially grown strawberries are usually packed in clear plastic clamshell boxes to both protect the strawberries from bruising and to display them properly/make them attractive. These clamshells are single-use and they contribute a lot of overall plastic waste due to the popularity of strawberries.

A great way to avoid all of this single-use plastic waste is to get your strawberries from “pick your own” operations or from local farmers’ markets. Not only are you avoiding unnecessary plastic waste, but you’re supporting local farmers and businesses thrive.

Eating Strawberries

Strawberries are best eaten directly off the bush while they are still super fresh. But if you’re having store-bought strawberries, it’s best to give them a thorough wash first before eating them.

Storage:

Strawberries can be stored inside the fridge for up to seven days. Just make sure to remove any strawberries that are rotten or starting to get soft as not to affect the others.

Another way to store them would be to give them a bath in a water and vinegar solution for five minutes. Don’t worry, this won’t affect the taste of the strawberries as you’re going to rinse them off after they soak. After rinsing them, let them dry on paper towels before placing them inside the fridge. You can store strawberries for up to two weeks this way.

Tip: The ratio of the water and vinegar solution is ¼ cup vinegar for every 1 and ½ cups of water.

You can also freeze the berries for up to two months. Just cut off the stems of the strawberries, place them in a freezer-safe bag and stick them in the fridge. Don’t forget to date them so you’ll know if they’re still good or not.

Cooking:

While strawberries are best enjoyed raw and fresh, they’re pretty versatile and can be used in any dish that uses berries. They’re great as fresh toppings for salads, sundaes, and as smoothies. Strawberries can also be added for a unique twist on salsa, as well as green salads.

Strawberries can also be made into delicious pies and tarts. Strawberries can also be used to make jams and preserves so you can enjoy them all year long.

Nutrition:

  • Carbs
    • Strawberries have a low glycemic index, so this sweet treat is safe for people with diabetes.
    • A 100g serving of strawberries contains less than 5g of simple sugars, which makes this a low-guilt alternative to processed snacks and for filling a sweet craving.
  • Fiber
    • A serving of strawberries contains about 10% of the RDI for dietary fiber, while this may not seem like a lot, every little bit helps.
      • Dietary fibers are consumed by good bacteria in your gut and improve overall digestive health and balance.
      • Dietary fiber also helps in weight loss by keeping you feeling full longer and controls cravings.
    • Vitamins and minerals:
      • Strawberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C, which is necessary for boosting your immune system and for healthier skin.
      • Strawberries also contain moderate amounts of folate, making it the perfect snack for pregnant women and older adults.
      • Strawberries also contain various vitamins and minerals that are good for general health and well-being as well as the prevention of different diseases.
      • Strawberries contain anthocyanins, which have been linked with a lower risk of heart disease.

When Are Strawberries in Season in Texas?

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 32 2%
  • Carbs: 7.7g 3%
  • Sugar: 4.9g 0
  • Fiber: 2g 8%
  • Protein: 0.7g 1%
  • Fat: 0.3g 0%
  • Saturated Fat: 0g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 1mg 0%
  • Vitamin C 58.8mg 98%
  • Vitamin A 12IU 0%
  • Calcium 16mg 2%
  • Iron 0.4mg 2%
  • Potassium 153mg 4%
  • Vitamin E 0.3mg 1%
  • Vitamin K 2.2mcg 3%
  • Vitamin B6 0mg 2%
  • Folate 24mcg 6%
  • Magnesium 13mg 3%
  • Phosphorus 24mg 2%
  • Manganese 0.4mg 19%
  • Copper 0mg 2%
  • Zinc 0.1mg 1%

Seasonality

When are apples in season in Texas?

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

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