Strawberries are in season. Sure, they can be seen in the grocery year round but these sweet, juicy berries come from local gardens from May to July. Americans eat 3.4 pounds of strawberries every year.

The name strawberry has been debated for eons. Many people believe that it was derived from the fact that straw is often laid down beneath the plants to protect the roots that grow close to the top of the soil as well as the delicate berries. The more popular explanation is that the word, strawberry, comes from the idea that the berries are strewn among the plants and strewnberries became strawberries. That sounds better than scatterberries.

This name was derived from the Latin word for fragrant. Strawberries are actually in the rose family and considering the beautiful color and taste, they are also linked to loving relationships.

Put chocolate, roses and strawberries together and the romance is bound to begin. Native Americans called them heart-shaped berries. Legends around the world associate strawberries with love and flirtation.

Eight medium-sized whole strawberries provide more than 100 percent of vitamin C needed daily. This vitamin requires that the berries are handled carefully. Cutting or juicing them will reduce the vitamin content.

Strawberries are low in calories. One cup of unsweetened berries has only 55 calories. They are fat free and are recommended to prevent heart disease and cancer. Folic acid, potassium and fiber are found in abundance in strawberries. Flavonoids and phytonutrients abound in strawberries. Without extra sugar, they are a very healthy food.

Ancient Roman physicians used strawberries to treat everything from fever to depression. Fresh juice from mashed up berries has a cooling effect on patients with fevers. Crushed berries and water have been used as a body purifier for ages.

Strawberry juice or mash combined with honey will even reduce inflammation or sunburn when rubbed thoroughly into the skin. Rinse off with warm water and lemon juice to feel cool relief.

They are the first fruit to ripen in the spring. Botanists do not regard them as true berries or fruit because their seeds are on the outside of the fruit. In fact there are over 200 seeds on each strawberry. This is probably why random strawberry plants pop up in the most unusual places because the birds move these seeds around easily.

The flavor of the berries depends upon the weather, the variety and the stage of ripeness when picked. Strawberries that are picked when three-fourths red will develop full color and flavor in a few days when kept at 70 degrees. Berries that are only half red will seldom have the same quality as a mature berry.

Experts report that a few strawberries are healthy for your dog. These berries contain an enzyme that helps to whiten their teeth. The nutritional value is also beneficial for your pup. Share a few today.


Bobbie Randall

Contributing columnist

Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator, registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a Diabetes Self-Management Training Program at Dunlap Community Hospital, Orrville, Ohio. Contact her at [email protected].

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