Strawberries – This is actually the most popular fruit in the world! Like blueberries, they are best bought organic due to the high potential pesticide residue. If not organic, wash with vegetable wash and drain. They should be kept in the refrigerator and any damaged or decaying strawberries should be removed from the bunch. Choose ripe strawberries without green or yellow patches; that are firm and plump. Once picked strawberries do not continue to ripen.

These berries are great for freezing. Clean and wash thoroughly, separate and dry them. If they are frozen wet they will stick together. It is a good idea to lay them out on a cookie sheet and freeze, then put in container. They can be frozen with or without the caps and can be frozen whole, sliced or crushed, but the vitamin C content will remain the most when frozen whole. Adding a bit of lemon juice will help preserve color.

Like other fruit, it is most nutrient-dense when eaten fresh or frozen, not heated or cooked. Enjoy strawberries with other fruits and berries as close to their natural form as possible. Try adding them to smoothies, salads, or as a parfait.

Raspberries – This berry is an “aggregate fruit”. It is made up of seed-containing fruits called drupelets, arranged around a hollow central cavity. Raspberries are extremely perishable and delicate. Never wash them before storing them, remove any damaged berries and store in the refrigerator. It is best to remove them from container and store them in a shallow glass dish in a single layer, with a paper towel on top. If freezing, do it the same way as strawberries.

Cherries – This is a small stone fruit, or dupe. It belongs to the same rose family as apricots, peaches, and plums. There are two types of cherries, sweet and sour. Cherry season is very short, little more than 3 months. Fresh cherries sold after August are either from New Zealand or from cold storage. Wash, store and freeze cherries as you would strawberries.

Cherries are extremely revered for their anti-inflammatory properties and cherry juice (pure not sugar added) is often used as treatment for sore muscles and joints. It is also helpful in treating gout, a type of arthritis associated with a high concentration of uric acid in the blood. Cherries anthocyanidins inhibit the activity of the enzyme involved in the production of uric acid.

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