This time of year, strawberries are at their peak here in sunny Florida. That means it’s time to enjoy these beauties in any number of ways. But strawberries aren’t just another yummy treat, they’re actually nutritional powerhouses. You get to indulge in a sweet treat and feel good about it!
I’m sure you’ve enjoyed strawberries in a number of ways but you may not realize just how good for you they really are. Per serving size, they actually have the second highest antioxidant content of any berry (behind blackberries). Check out the many other health benefits of strawberries:
- The polyphenols in strawberries can help regulate blood sugar
- Strawberries are rich in phytonutrients which decrease inflammation
- Strawberries are high in vitamin C, manganese, fiber, folate and iodine
- Anti- cancer due to their phytonutrients
- Strawberries have been shown to have anti- aging properties
- Decrease inflammation in the digestive track increasing bowel health
- Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory content in strawberries support heart health
Choose Those Berries Wisely
Choosing the perfect berries will give you not only the best taste, but also the best nutrition. You want to choose strawberries that are vibrantly red and medium sized. Make sure none of the berries are bruised or molding as these can contaminate their neighbors. You’ll also want to make sure your berries are fresh. Studies show that the nutrients in strawberries greatly decrease after two days from harvest so straight from the farm is best!
It’s also imperative that you choose berries from an organic or no-spray farm. Since strawberries are #5 on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen, they are one of the fruits you should definitely ensure doesn’t have pesticides. Talk to your farmer if possible!
Keeping Them Fresh
Storage of these little red goodies is also important. They like a humid environment which promotes nutrient retention. Berries can dry out quickly in the fridge so keep them in the vegetable drawer or a sealed container. If they’re looking a little on the sad side (i.e. their days are numbered), stick them in a water and vinegar bath for a few minutes. This will kill the bacteria and help keep the mold at bay a little longer.
Now on to the yummy part. If you’ve got strawberries in season, you probably like to stock up like me. We go picking and bring home buckets of strawberries at a time. So what’s a girl to do with all those strawberries? Plenty! Strawberries are so versatile, you shouldn’t have a problem finding uses, but if you’re looking for some new ideas, I’ve got you covered! And remember, strawberries are going to be more nutrient dense when they’re eaten raw so look for ways to keep them away from heat.
Salads: I love including fruit in my salads and this a perfect way to use fresh strawberries. Try this citrus vinaigrette with greens, strawberries, nuts and crumbled feta.
Desserts: Who doesn’t love a good strawberry shortcake? Strawberry desserts are delicious and a healthier option than deserts laden with sugar. I’ve listed a couple great options to get your wheels turning!
Sauces: Strawberries are a delicious addition to sauces, toppings or salsas. Use a simple sauce over waffles, pancakes, granola or yogurt. Want strawberries for dinner? Strawberry salsa is excellent over fish or chicken.
Breakfasts: Yum, strawberries for breakfast! From muffins to granola, there are plenty of ways to eat your strawberries in the morning. Check out my strawberry granola or my strawberry muffin recipe I’m sharing today.
Drinks: From smoothies to iced tea, strawberries are a sweet addition to almost any drink creation. Try these tasty recipes below.
Jam: I can’t forget strawberry jam! Making your own in the healthiest and most cost effective option- oh and it’s actually super easy. You can check out a basic recipe here.
Freezing Your Berries
When berries are in season, you’ll want to take advantage of the prices and fill your freezer. Freezing berries is easy to do! Simply wash the berries and remove the tops if desired (you can leave them on if you’ll be using them for smoothies). Place berries on a baking sheet and place in the freezer until frozen. Once frozen, you can move the berries to your desired storage container.
Strawberry Mini Muffins- The Recipe
I can’t leave you without a strawberry recipe after sharing all of my strawberry love! Today, I’m sharing a delicious gluten free muffin recipe. These are a huge hit with my kiddos for a quick and easy breakfast. This recipe makes 24 mini muffins.
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup strawberries, diced
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a small bowl, combine coconut flour, baking soda and salt
- In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut oil, honey, vanilla and eggs.
- Beat until thoroughly mixed.
- Add dry ingredients and mix again.
- Fold in strawberries until just combined.
- Grease a mini muffin tin with coconut oil and spoon a heaping teaspoon of batter into each muffin cup.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until tops begin to brown.
- Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.