Less Fat, Still Ono

By Barbara Burke
and Joannie Dobbs

Wednesday, May 5, 1999

Indulge in flavorful strawberry

Strawberries are one of America's favorite fruits. More than 94 percent of all American households consume strawberries according to the California Strawberry Commission.

California supplies more than 80 percent of the nation's fresh and frozen strawberries which, if laid berry to berry, would wrap around the world 15 times. The peak season is usually April, May and June.

A strawberry's flavor is influenced by growing conditions, the stage of its ripeness when harvested, and the variety of the berry. The size of a strawberry is not a factor. Strawberries do not ripen after being harvested. Serve strawberries at room temperature to heighten their naturally sweet taste.

Strawberries provide great nutritional value. Eight medium-sized strawberries contain less than 50 calories, are virtually fat-free, and provide about 100 percent of the U.S. RDA for Vitamin C. In addition, strawberries are a good source of folic acid, potassium and fiber.

When buying strawberries, select plump berries with a natural shine, bright-red color and fresh green caps. Store them, unwashed, in a large container layered with paper towels.

Just before using, wash strawberries with the caps attached under a gentle spray of cool water. The caps prevent water from breaking down the texture and flavor inside the berries. Pat dry with a paper towel. To remove caps, give them a light twist, or use the point of a sharp paring knife.

If you or someone you know loves strawberries but breaks out in hive after eating them, there is good news. For some people, if strawberries are thoroughly rinsed in hot water and then chilled, whatever it is that triggers hives may be destroyed and washed away, according to the "Immuniological Aspects of Foods," edited by Nicholas Catsimpoolas.

Strawberries can be used in beverages, soups, salads, quick breads, salsas and desserts. A slice of traditional strawberry cheesecake can contain 500 calories and more than 25 grams of fat. This version gives the flavor of strawberry cheesecake with half the calories and less than a gram of fat per serving.


Fresh Strawberries
with Cheesecake Sauce

7 cups fresh strawberries
1 (14 ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
8 ounces nonfat cottage cheese
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Grapenuts cereal
1/2 cup nonfat milk

Wash and drain strawberries. Reserve 6 berries for the top and slice the remainder. Divide slices into 6 bowls and chill in freezer about 30 minutes.

Blend condensed milk and cottage cheese until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Chill 10 minutes.

Combine Grapenuts and milk and let stand until Grapenuts absorb milk.

Remove strawberries from freezer. Sprinkle Grapenut mixture evenly over sliced strawberries; followed by the chilled cheese sauce. Garnish with reserved whole berries. Serves 6.

You can substitute fresh pineapple for the strawberries without changing the nutritional composition of the dessert.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 250 calories, 0.5 g total fat, 0 g. saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium.*

Barbara Burke is a Hawaii-Pacific University instructor who has been teaching
and writing about food and nutrition since 1975.

Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S., is a food and nutrition consultant
and owner of Exploring New Concepts, a nutritional consulting firm.
She is also responsible for the nutritional analyses
indicated by an asterisk in this section.

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