It’s strawberry season here in Ontario and I couldn’t be happier! This past weekend I went strawberry picking at Organics Family Farm in Markham and we left with a giant 7L basket of delicious organic strawberries! Now is the time to enjoy so much fresh and local produce that not only supports local farmers, but you are also getting maximum nutrition since food is often picked fresh that day and is allowed to ripen on the plant versus on a truck (or worse, by using ethylene gas!) If you’ve never picked your own before I encourage you to do it with your family! It’s a great day spent connecting with the earth and being more conscious of where your food comes from.
What do you do with all of the strawberries that you pick? (Especially when you have 7 litres!) Here are some of the ways I used them this week:
1. Strawberries for breakfast: Often the way most people enjoy them! I had them on steel-cut oats, in a smoothie or on organic greek yogurt.
2. Toss strawberries in a salad. This creation had mixed organic greens, avocado, pecans, strawberries and hemp seed with a simple dressing of good quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Strawberries and balsamic are a natural pairing.
3. Make strawberry desserts like muffins (recipe coming soon!), strawberry shortcake or sorbet.
4. Cool off with a strawberry spritzer. Put a handful of strawberries in a glass, add some fresh mint and coconut sugar/agave/stevia and muddle/mash for a minute. Add some carbonated filtered water and voila: instant refreshment!
5. Wash and freeze them for use later in smoothies or other desserts. Picking them fresh and freezing them right away ensures most of the valuable nutrients are preserved and often at a better price than when they are out of season. Wash, hull and place them on a cookie sheet in a single layer and then freeze them overnight. The next day transfer them to an alternative container in your freezer.
6. Treat yourself to a beautifying strawberry mask that you can eat. Packed with vitamin C and alpha-hydroxy acids, strawberries are an amazing skin brightener and exfoliant! The best part is that this mask is chemical free. Mash up 1/2 cup of strawberries, 1 tbsp. honey, squeeze of half a lemon and 2 tbsp. of ground flax or chia. Mix and let sit for 5 minutes to firm up. Apply to face (watch out, it’ll be drippy so do it over a sink!) and then rinse after 3-5 minutes. As a bonus, the portion that you don’t end up using is still edible and can make a great strawberry pudding or puree to mix with organic greek yogurt or top ice cream! And I say if you can eat it, it’s safe to put on your skin.
7. Enjoy them simply on their own as a snack. When they’re this fresh and flavourful, sometimes no recipes are required. 🙂