Spring. Strawberries. Bright, plump, red. Sweet and juicy. Laden with pesticides. Move over apples, strawberries have stolen your spot as number one on the top of EWG’s dirty dozen list.
What am I talking about? Since 2004, the Environmental Working Group has been ranking pesticide contamination on 48 popular fruits and vegetables from over 35,000 samples tested by the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. They call it the EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, or as it’s more commonly known: "The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15” lists. This is the go-to guide for how to prioritize your dollars on organic produce if you cannot afford to buy (or don't always have access to) organic produce all the time. While there are several repeat offenders each year (apples, zucchini, strawberries, tomatoes and grapes), apples have been taking home the top prize until this year's list was released and strawberries came out on top.
(Want to know more? Read all about it here)
That's all fine and good, but how does this strawberry news affect you as a consumer? This is your cue to make sure the strawberries you eat are certified organic. Bonus if they come from local farmers. And with strawberries just coming into peak season, this is the time to indulge. If you want to really stock up, then purchase a flat of strawberries, wash, trim and slice some for immediate eating and then prep the extras for later with my berry preservation method:
Wash, dry and cut strawberries into slices or small pieces. Spread them out onto a cookie sheet and place in your freezer until they are frozen. Once frozen, scoop them up into a zip top plastic bag and store in your freezer for later use. They are great added to smoothies, stirred into hot oatmeal or tossed into salad. This works great with blueberries and raspberries, too.
Strawberries are worth the extra cost of going organic and not just to avoid pesticides. They offer a great dose of nutrition! They offer plenty of vitamin C, fiber, they support heart health and are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
The possibilities of what to do with strawberries are (almost) endless. How about a strawberry-cucumber smoothie? Or a chia seed pudding? You can add them to your overnight oats, infuse your water with a few fresh sliced berries or even try them with my pesto chicken salad recipe.
So make the most of strawberry season – buy organic – and enjoy every sweet bite!
What’s your favorite way to eat strawberries?