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UC Food Safety
University of California
UC Food Safety

Summer strawberry smoothies

I’m lucky enough to live about a mile from a small, family-run strawberry patch in Yolo County. From some time in April until October, the Laotian family members pick berries in the mornings and sell them from their small wooden stand until they run out of fruit for the day.

Flats of 4 or 6 baskets are the most economical to buy. I carefully place the flat on the floor of the passenger seat; by the time I have walked around to the driver’s seat, the fragrance of the fresh berries has filled the car with instant summer.

Once home, I don’t wash the berries unless I plan to eat them right away. Instead I keep the berries in their baskets and cardboard flat and just cover them loosely with a paper towel. They keep their flavor and texture up to 5 days this way.

According to UC ANR Food Safety Specialist Linda Harris, washing berries in a sink filled with water can spread contaminants from one berry to another; it’s best to hold them under running water, drain them in a clean strainer and pat them dry with a paper towel. I use a clean grapefruit knife with a serrated, slightly curved tip to cut out just the green stem and white part of each berry.

On summer days I get up early and prep the berries like this before my dog and I head out for a run in the cool morning air. Then all I must do when we return—hot and thirsty—is toss the smoothie ingredients in a blender and turn it on.

You can keep your smoothie simple or pack it full of healthy ingredients, as I do below, so it essentially serves as a full breakfast. Either way, its fresh strawberry flavor is one of the culinary pleasures of an early California summer.

Strawberry Smoothie
Serves two; exact amounts are not critical

3 – 4 ice cubes
1½ – 2 cups washed strawberries, stem and core removed
1 banana, peeled
½3/4 cup protein drink, such as Odwalla Super Protein
½ cup pomegranate, orange or any real fruit juice
½–2/3 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
Optional: a handful of other fruit such as a peeled, cored pear or a slice of cantaloupe

Place ice in the blender first, then add fruit, yogurt and juice. Cover and blend 1–2 minutes or until ice and fruit are pureed.

If you don’t use a full flat of strawberries, you can freeze, dry and can the extra berries. See Harris’ Strawberries: Safe Methods to Store Preserve and Enjoy http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8256.pdf for information on those methods.

Cleaned strawberries ready to be prepped
Cleaned strawberries ready to be prepped

Posted on Friday, May 7, 2010 at 9:30 AM

Comments:

1.
Did that Yolo Family farm use Ethyl Bromide to fumigate their fields? Ethyl Bromide is a carcinogent. Do they use other toxic pesticides to keep snails or insects from eating holes in the fruit? If they did, then your strawberry smoothie is not so appealing.

Posted by Gail R Lam on June 5, 2010 at 5:00 PM

2.
Did that Yolo Family farm use Ethyl Bromide to fumigate their fields? Ethyl Bromide is a carcinogent. Do they use other toxic pesticides to keep snails or insects from eating holes in the fruit? If they did, then your strawberry smoothie is not so appealing.

Posted by Gail R Lam on June 5, 2010 at 5:00 PM

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