February is Fabulous Florida Strawberry Month
PLANT CITY/DOVER, FLA — Fresh strawberries in February? Though it’s cold and dreary in many parts of the country, February is fabulous in Florida where strawberry farmers are harvesting their winter crop and shipping handpicked fruit to key markets.
“Strawberries dipped in chocolate or served straight up with a dollop of whipped cream are sure to please the special Valentine in your life,” said Sue Harrell, director of marketing for the Florida Strawberry Growers Association (FSGA). “It’s a happy coincidence that Valentine’s Day, one of the most popular celebrations in the country, falls during the peak of our season,” she continued.
“We’re finding that consumers are responding favorably to Florida-grown strawberries once they realize that our strawberries are in season now. Our growing region is known internationally as the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World.
“We begin harvesting right after Thanksgiving and continue until the end of March. Our marketing programs are giving consumers, chefs and caterers the knowledge and opportunity to purchase Florida’s flavorful, healthy and delicious berries when they least expect them – in the winter. They provide a taste of summer, all winter long.
“We’re celebrating February as Fabulous Florida Strawberry Month to call special attention to winter strawberries. We’re getting the word out this season to as many audiences as possible,” Harrell concluded.
Florida strawberries are rushed to market in refrigerated trucks just hours after picking and packing. Strawberries are versatile in a variety of recipes from salads to shortbread.
Strawberries are easy to eat on the run and have significant nutritional attributes. Eight strawberries contain more vitamin C than one orange. A one-cup serving (about eight to 10 medium-size berries) contains 45 calories and has no fat, cholesterol or sodium. Strawberries contain antioxidants, the natural healthful compound found in many fruits and vegetables.
Tips for Dipping Strawberries
Save loads of cash by dipping strawberries yourself. It’s easy and elegant.
- Leave stems and green caps on berries.
- To ensure chocolate adheres to berries, make sure strawberries are free of outside moisture. Rinse, drain and carefully pat strawberries with a paper towel until dry.
- Be careful. Just one drop of moisture in melted chocolate will cause chocolate to seize (clump and harden).
- Chocolate-dipped strawberries are perfect for a romantic evening in, with candlelight and a bottle of wine.
- Add multi-colored sprinkles or roll in coconut or chopped nuts to make chocolate-dipped strawberries even more special and delicious.