Fresh, juicy strawberries are this season's staple. And they’re not just for dessert. Alison Ashton, food writer and recipe guru, shares 7 delicious - and unusual - recipes that make the most of this seasonal favorite... 

Like flip-flops and lazy afternoons, it wouldn’t be spring without piles of ripe, red strawberries. These low-cal treats hit a nutritional sweet spot and brighten up your meals. 

Ten medium-size berries have only 38 calories and deliver 118% of your daily vitamin C and 10% of fiber needs. 

The fruit’s also loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants, such as catechins, quercetin, anthocyanins and ellagic acid. The latter has been shown to prevent skin, bladder and breast cancer in lab studies. 

Buy organic strawberries if you can afford it; the fruit is No. 6 on the Environmental Working Group’s list of high-pesticide fruits and vegetables. Because strawberries are plentiful this time of year, organic may only cost about $1 per pint. 

Look for bright, plump berries with healthy-looking green caps. 

If you don’t eat them immediately, store unwashed strawberries in a glass jar with a plastic lid in the refrigerator. They go bad quickly though, so for maximum flavor and nutrition, use them within two days.

Here are 7 recipes that make the most of this all-star

Grilled Chicken Legs Quarters with Strawberry Gastrique and Blue Cheese
Gastrique is a syrupy reduction of fruit, vinegar and sugar. It sounds fancy, but it’s an easy way to dress up grilled chicken. White balsamic vinegar helps keep the red color, but if you can’t find it, regular balsamic vinegar works well too. Chicken leg quarters are particularly juicy and flavorful, but substitute chicken breast if you prefer. Serve with green peas and rice. 

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