Make the most of strawberry season!
Friday, June 1, 2018
June is Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. Though it seems like there should be plenty at farmers’ markets, the reality is that the growing season is just getting started in Wisconsin.
As you look around farmers’ markets – and, yes, we’ll have free shopping bags in six colors at this year’s Green Bay farmers’ markets – most of the vegetables you’ll find freshly harvested during June are salad makings. Look for fresh arugula, asparagus, beets, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, kale, collards, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, sweet peas, scallions, spinach and turnips.
The best news is that June is strawberry season in Wisconsin.
Strawberries are packed with dietary fiber and more vitamin C than any other berry. About eight strawberries provide more vitamin C than an orange.
“Strawberries have health benefits beyond that,” says Dr. Lynn K. Wagner, an integrative lifestyle medicine physician with BayCare Clinic. “Strawberries are rich in powerful, heart-healthy antioxidants. Among them are anthocyanins, which give strawberries their rich red color and can help lower blood pressure and make blood vessels more elastic.”
Summer dinner salad: Chop two cooked chicken breasts. Toss with diced strawberries, one minced green onion, toasted almonds and a bit of basil.
Strawberry salsa: Mix chopped strawberries with chopped avocado or chopped mango, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno pepper and lime juice. Serve with tortilla chips or over grilled fish, chicken or pork.
Many people pick their own strawberries. Choose wisely. Strawberries should be plump, dry, firm and nicely shaped. Look for a uniformly rich red color and leafy caps that are fresh and green. Avoid withered or crushed berries.
Storing and freezing strawberries
Whether you’re storing or freezing freshly picked strawberries, sort through them first. Don’t wash them. Toss out any moldy berries or smashed berries that have an off smell.
To store strawberries: Take the rest and gently blot them dry with a paper towel. Keep your fresh berries in a shallow refrigerator container lined with paper towels.
To freeze strawberries: Start by spreading berries in a single layer on a baking sheet. Put the berries in the freezer until they’re frozen solid. Then put them in a plastic freezer bag or a freezer container. They should keep for 10 months to a year.
Dr. Lynn Wagner is an integrative lifestyle medicine physician with BayCare Clinic. She is fellowship trained in Integrative Medicine and offers this increasingly popular approach to healthcare to patients in Northeast Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Dr. Wagner is also board certified in Emergency Medicine which gives her a unique combination of skills to care for her patients.
Away from the office, the Green Bay area native enjoys running, cycling with her family, hiking, spending time with her family and relishes the excitement of all the outdoors activities Wisconsin’s winter season has to offer.