Super Strawberries and the Dirty Dozen
Strawberries are a wonderful food. They contain high levels of vitamin C and other antioxidants but they are also prone to having high levels of pesticides used in their growing. That is why a new study investigated the differences between organic and non-organic strawberries.
Strawberries are part of the â€œDirty Dozenâ€ (no, not part of a World War II group of assassins including Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin!), but the twelve fruits and vegetables that are most likely to be contaminated with pesticides and herbicides. Advocates of going organic suggest that if you are going to choose organic food then you should begin with these twelve as they are the ones that will give you the greatest benefit.
The question is though, aside from being less contaminated are organic strawberries good eating and how do they differ nutritionally from non-organic strawberries?
Strawberries contain a range of nutrients such as manganese, magnesium, B vitamins and potassium. They are also an excellent source of antioxidants including vitamin C and polyphenols. In fact, strawberries are such a good source of antioxidants that NASA gives them to their astronauts in a freeze dried form to help protect against radiation upon re-entry to the Earthâ€™s atmosphere.
So what is the nutritional difference as described in this study?
First, the researchers found that organic strawberries have higher levels of vitamin C and also antioxidant polyphenols than non-organic strawberries. However, non-organic strawberries had higher levels of potassium and phosphorous probably because these two nutrients feature heavily in non-organic fertilisers.
Additionally, organic strawberries had a longer shelf-life and were more dense with greater dry matter (as opposed to fluid). Taste was broadly comparable between the two strawberry types.
In all the researchers concluded that organic strawberries were a higher quality fruit. So if you go non-organic with your strawberries then wash them well but if you can go organic, particularly if you are entertaining any plans to re-enter the Earthâ€™s atmosphere anytime soon.