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All About Strawberries

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - 7:00am

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today, we're talking all about strawberries. Hello, I'm Amy Myers and welcome to Farm and Family. Today we're speaking with Shannon Hinds, Mississippi State University dietetic intern. So Shannon, before we jump into strawberry 101, let's start with the basics. So how did the strawberry get its name?

Shannon Hinds: Well that's a great question, Amy. According to the USDA, we aren't exactly sure how the strawberry got its name. Some believe it originated from the way the vines created the appearance that the strawberries were just strewn about the ground and it's possible that strewn somehow morphed into straw. Others believe it has to do with the fact that the berries were ready for harvesting around the same time as the straw was. Hence, strawberries.

Amy Myers: So we all know that strawberries are a healthy food source. Can you explain more about that?

Shannon Hinds: Strawberries are a great low-calorie option. They can make a wonderful addition to any meal or even serve as the perfect snack. A serving of strawberries, which is about one cup, or roughly eight berries, provides around 50 calories. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and K. They also provide an optimal dose of fiber, folic acid, manganese and potassium. Not only are they healthy for you, they're convenient as you don't have to peel them before consumption and they're also so versatile, as you can mix them with other foods such as salads or yogurts.

Amy Myers: Well that's interesting. Some believe canned or frozen strawberries are not as healthy as fresh strawberries. Is this true?

Shannon Hinds: Not necessarily. The nutrient content of canned and frozen fruits can even be compared, at times, to fresh if strawberries are canned or frozen immediately after being harvested or processed. Because of this quick turnaround, nutrient loss after picking is minimal. The process of canning and freezing allows for nutrients to be locked in at their peak of freshness and prolongs the shelf life of the strawberries. Freezing strawberries also allows for a longer shelf life. Something to note when choosing the canned route is to be mindful of any added sugars when purchasing from the store.

Amy Myers: To elaborate on that, what is the shelf life of fresh, frozen and canned strawberries?

Shannon Hinds: For fresh strawberries, it can depend on how ripe they were when they were harvested or purchased. Typically, fresh strawberries should be consumed within three to seven days. Home canned or frozen strawberries should be consumed within 12 months of freezing or canning for optimal quality. For canned or frozen strawberries that were purchased from the store, it is best to abide by the expiration date.

Amy Myers: If our listeners are interested in growing strawberries at home, rather than purchasing them in the store, how many strawberry plants would it take to feed, say, a family of five?

Shannon Hinds: That's a great question. Each strawberry plant will typically produce about a quart of strawberries per year. Different varieties of strawberry plants produce different results. For instance, varieties like Tribute and Tristar tend to produce berries throughout the growing season and sometimes even up until the first frost. The method of consumption also plays a role. If you plan to consume them fresh, you would need no less than six to seven plants per person. If you plan on freezing or canning them for later consumption, I would recommend a minimum of 10 strawberry plants per person.

Amy Myers: Is there anything else you want to share with us about strawberries?

Shannon Hinds: I actually have a few quick, fun facts about strawberries. Strawberries are so adored that they have their own celebratory month, which is the month of May. They are grown in all 50 states and are the only fruit that have seeds located on the outside of the fruit, rather than the inside. One strawberry has approximately 200 seeds. They are a member of the rose family and they have been studied more than any other fruit alone.

Amy Myers: So, where can we go for more information about growing and/or canning strawberries, as well as other types of fruit products?

Shannon Hinds: Visit extension.msstate.edu and under the agriculture tab, click on crops then fruit. Mississippi State University Extension has a wide variety of information as well as fruit specialists and experts in food science, nutrition, and health promotion.

Amy Myers: That definitely makes me want to go and plant my own strawberry garden. And we also want to remind folks that there are various events and workshops throughout the year, conducted by Mississippi State University Extension on all of these topics, including topics and workshops based on other types of fruit production.

Thank you so much. Today we've been speaking with Shannon Hinds, Mississippi State University Dietetic Intern in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion. I'm Amy Myers and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion

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