The taste of summer is finally here with plump New Zealand-grown strawberries now on sale and plenty of ways to enjoy eating them throughout the day.
Strawberries are one of nature’s most versatile fruit and can be added to breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert or as a delicious snack.
To celebrate the launch of this year’s strawberry season, The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust is encouraging Kiwis to try new recipes and make the most of these tasty morsels while they’re at their peak.
Strawberries are a good source of Vitamin C – one cup of them (175g) will provide 200 per cent of your recommended daily intake! They are also a source of dietary fibre, folate, niacin and contain potassium, all of which contribute to good health and vitality.
5+ A Day Senior Account Manager Stephanie Wrathall says breakfast is a great opportunity to increase the amount of fresh fruit in our diets. The Trust’s latest research found 39 per cent of Kiwis said breakfast was their weak point when it came to eating fresh produce.
Adding strawberries at breakfast is a great way to start the day and a way to get a head start on your 5+ A Day.
Around 8000 tonnes of strawberries are grown in New Zealand every year – 90 per cent of which are sold to local consumers.
Strawberry Growers New Zealand Inc Executive Manager Michael Ahern says crop volumes are on par with last year, barring any significant weather events. “Volumes will build throughout October and peak around mid-November to mid-December. Growers always pray for warm and dry weather at this time of year and so far, the plants are all looking pretty good.”
Strawberries don’t ripen or sweeten any further once they’re picked, so great care and skill goes into harvesting each berry and getting them to consumers as quickly as possible.
“About 65 per cent of production comes out of Auckland and a further 15 per cent out of Waikato,” Ahern says. “But we do have growers spread across the country and as far south as Waimate. Basically Auckland growers are pretty well done by Christmas and the others can grow through until March and April.”
Whether sweet or savoury, we have some great ideas for your five ways with strawberries:
1. Make strawberries the hero of your breakfast fruit salad.
2. Strawberries pair incredibly well with walnuts, cranberries and feta cheese. Add handfuls of green lettuce or spinach to create an amazing salad for your lunch.
3. Remember strawberries are delicious to snack on just as they are. Keep a punnet handy to graze on during the day.
4. At dinner mix strawberries, rocket and asparagus along with goat’s cheese and spring onion to create a delicious evening meal or as a colourful side dish.
5. For dessert, who could go past a mouth-watering strawberry crumble. Add a dollop of yoghurt and you’ll be in strawberry heaven.
Now is definitely the time to buy and enjoy this fantastic fruit while it lasts. So grab a punnet of strawberries today and savour them morning, noon and night.