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Summer sweetness

I love summer. The warm weather, the sunshine, the barbecues, and my personal favorite - the fruit! I don't think it's any accident that the sweeter, juicier harvests come when the thermometer rises. We've kind of spoiled ourselves over the years by becoming accustomed to year-round access to seasonal food, but the real frugalistas know that eating what's ACTUALLY in season is much better for your wallet - one of my coworkers called it "old fashioned shopping", I just call it smart.

Starting Friday, strawberries are on sale for $2 per 1 pound container at Stop & Shop! They are California strawberries, not exactly local fare just yet, but the harvest was good this year so we benefit in spite of the rising cost of transporting....i'm certainly not complaining!

Some fun strawberry facts from the California Strawberry Commission:

  • Strawberries are little powerhouses full of fiber, antioxidants and Vitamin C - they are rated the 2nd most antioxidant fruit AND one serving has more vitamin C than a whole orange!

  • Strawberries can also boast flavonoids (which help give them their red color), which are researched for their anticancer properties. Strawberry extract is showing promise in a Tufts University study for slowing the decline of brain function and may be helpful in holding off Alzheimers. The strawberry is even certified by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy food.

  • If you lined up all the strawberries grown in California end to end, they would wrap around the Earth 15 times. (that's a LOT of strawberry shortcake!)

The California Commission has a cute little website for the kiddies called Strawberryville that has lots of fun facts and games. And there are a TON of great strawberry recipes on the Commission's site as well. Here's one I found that will be easy to make ahead of time and use on waffles, pancakes, even chicken and fish!

Strawberry Breakfast Salsa
1/3 cup apricot jam

3 tbsp. water

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 pint baskets California strawberries, stemmed and cut into 1/4-inch diced

In medium bowl whisk jam, water and cinnamon, add strawberries. Toss gently to combine. Serve salsa over pancakes, waffles, French toast, hot cereal, or mix into plain yogurt. Makes 4 servings.

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