Sweet, sweet strawberries

The fruit that's not considered a berry by scientists is in its peak season, landing in refreshing snacks and sugary desserts.

The fruit that's not considered a berry by scientists is in its peak season, landing in refreshing snacks and sugary desserts.

June 04, 2003|by KATE COLEMAN

Patti Gouss, food service manager at Homewood at Williamsport, had her fill of strawberries May 3 at the retirement community's annual Strawberry Fest.

Forty-five flats of strawberries - 12 pints each - were used to make more than 400 strawberry shortcakes and sundaes. A committee of Homewood residents capped and sliced more than 500 pints of the juicy red fruit.

That's a lot of strawberries.

Chet Covert has been growing them for about 15 years and figures he has about four to five acres of them growing on his Greencastle, Pa., farm. Although he started picking berries May 27, he had only eaten three as of Thursday.


"We see so many berries, we get tired of them," he laughs.

Strawberry season is just beginning for Gloria Pine, a charter member of the Buchanan Lioness Club, which is sponsoring the annual Strawberry Festival on Saturday, June 7, in Mercersburg, Pa.

Club members will pick up 100 quarts of strawberries from Covert on Friday evening and cap and slice the berries for shortcake and strawberry sundaes they'll sell at Lions Park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday - or as long as they last.

Strawberry season is in full bloom. The scarlet heart-shaped berries are not classified as berries by botanists because their approximately 200 seeds are on the outside of the fruit.


Strawberries are sweet, versatile, and, when you see them at area farm stands, it's a sure sign that summer is almost here.

Strawberries are nutritious. The fruit is high in cancer-preventing properties, says Angela Kershner, exercise specialist in Washington County Health Department's Nutrition and Wellness Services.

Strawberries are high in vitamin C. A serving of eight strawberries has more of that vitamin than an orange. They also are a good source of folic acid - 20 percent of the amount required daily, especially important for women of childbearing age, since folate reduces risk of birth defects.

Strawberries are free of saturated fat and cholesterol, are a good source of fiber and have only 50 calories per serving, according to the California Strawberry Commission.

Even kids like them. More than half of American kids choose strawberries as their favorite fruit, according to the Web site of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service,

Chet Covert does a little strawberry research of his own. He's experimenting with a variety called Jewel. Early Glow, a good freezer that make a nice jam, is his best seller.

Despite his experience, Covert always is learning.

"In 14 years, I still don't know all the tricks," he says.

Frosty Strawberry Pops

1 pint strawberries, stemmed

1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk

3 tablespoons frozen orange, cranberry or pineapple juice concentrate

In blender container, blend all ingredients about 1 minute until smooth. Pour into 8 3-ounce wax-coated paper cups.

Place in shallow pan and insert a plastic spoon into the center of each. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours. After pops are frozen, they can be transferred to a resealable plastic bag for freezer storage. To release pops from cups, dip briefly into hot water up to rim of cup.

Serves 8.

Nutritional information: 76 calories; 2g fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 25 mg sodium; 15g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 2 g protein.

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