Strawberry Festival

Hartbeespoort and Brits are well-known for their strawberry farms and this coming weekend the community will have a chance to stock up on this delicious fruit.
Two mini Strawberry Festivals will be held this weekend, 4 and 5 September, in Brits and Hartbeespoort. Be sure not to miss it.

Friday 4 September
Beeetroot@Santai in Brits 10:00 – 17:00
Saturday 5 September
Village Mall from 9:00 to 16:00
Beeetroot@Santai 08:00 – 15:00

Grow your own
in hanging baskets

Choose a container for your hanging strawberry garden. The planter, often a wire basket should ideally be 30-38 cm, deep enough for the roots. This should be ample space for three to five plants. Line the basket with coir or peat moss to aid in water retention or purchase a self-watering basket and fill with soil combined with a good quality fertiliser or compost.
Do not use moisture-retaining soils as they contain hydrogels or chemical polymers. Care of Hanging Strawberries
Once planted, strawberry baskets should be watered daily and will need regular fertilisation due to the rather limited amount of nutrients in the small planter.

When watering the growing strawberries in hanging baskets, try not to get the fruit wet so it doesn’t rot.
Hanging strawberry plants (except the Alpine varieties) need a good six to eight hours of full sun a day for optimal fruit production. Fruit should be harvested as soon as berries are red, taking care to leave the green stalk in place.
Remove any runners from the strawberry baskets. Repot hanging strawberries each spring with fresh soil

(Adapted from www.gardeningknowhow.com)

Quick Tip

Remove the runners (off-shoots) on the plant for a better yield.

How to store strawberries

Stocking up?
Are you planning to stock up on strawberries during this coming weekend’s mini Strawberry Festival at Village Mall but don’t know how you are going to store and keep them fresh? Here is how you can still enjoy them for the next three months:

Freeze ‘em
Or, if you are going to buy in bulk, freeze your strawberries for smoothies, cakes, tarts, cereal…
To do this, place rinsed, dried, and stemmed whole berries, cut sides down, on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet; freeze, uncovered, for six hours. Then transfer to a freezer bag. You can store them in the freezer for up to three months.

Keep them cold and dry
The trick is to keep berries cold and dry so they won’t mold. For the short term: Arrange the berries (without washing or removing the stems) on a paper towel-lined tray and cover with plastic wrap; then refrigerate. Before eating or using them, wash the berries under cool water and then remove stems.

It is Spring and smoothies are in

Smoothies are probably the most popular drink among the health-conscious. This recipe is so good, you won’t be able to stop!

Ingredients
1 cup each of frozen strawberries, blackberries and raspberries
1 banana
1.25 cup almond milk or coconut milk. Coconut milk will give a richer, creamier flavour.
½ cup unsweetened yoghurt

Mix it
In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
Serve with garnish such as mint or berries of your choice.

Not just pretty and delicious, but extremely healthy…

The most abundant vitamins and minerals in strawberries are:
• Vitamin C
Strawberries contain more than 100 percent of our daily recommended intake of vitamin C in just one cup.
• Folate (vitamin B9)
One of the B vitamins, folate is important for normal tissue growth and cell function — and fundamental for pregnant women and older adults
• Fibre
They’re a great source of fibre important for moving food through your digestive system
• Antioxidants
Strawberries contain anthrocyanin, which is a powerful antioxidant that protects us from the damaging effects of our environment, especially the sun.

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