It’s all red in Islamabad

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Strawberry-a short seasoned fruit with all its nutritious benefits has added colour to the fruit markets of federal capital, alluring the food lovers with its vibrant red colour and sweet taste. The heart shaped red fruit strawberry arrives in the markets in the month of February and its demand rises usually on the time of Valentine’s Day, a private news channel reported. There was a time when strawberries were considered as a lavish fruit and was imported and out of the reach of the average consumer. But nowadays many farms have begun sowing and harvesting strawberry to ensure its availability in different markets for the consumers. Strawberry is a very versatile fruit is used in many delicious drinks, desserts, juice, smoothies, sundaes, shortcake, ice-cream, strawberry cheese cake, jam and a host of other mouth watering combinations that stimulate the senses. Many vendors are selling strawberries on hand carts in small and big markets and back roads in the city but the fruit is still not affordable by the average buyer. The price of strawberry remain high in the month of February and drop as the weather turns warmer after March. Fresh strawberries can be kept in the fridge for a few days while cooked ones can be frozen for use when the season is over. According to the health experts, strawberries have higher levels of vitamin C, fiber, folate and potassium than most other fruits like bananas, apples and even oranges and help reduce risk of cancer, enhance memory function and rheumatoid arthritis. A study by Dr. Gene Spiller from Nutrition and Health Research Center has shown that eating one serving (about 8-10 strawberries) a day can significantly decrease blood pressure, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. Pakistan is producing a limited quantity of strawberries which are either eaten or used in preparing ice-cream, jam, jelly, pickle, cake or milk shake. The varieties of strawberries grown in Pakistan are Chandelier, Corona and Stuff, mostly sour and small in size.