Sweet! ‘Tis the Season for Sweet Summer Strawberries

STRAWBERRIES’ BOUNTIFUL BENEFITS FOR HEALTH & BEAUTY

  • Research studies have linked consumption of strawberries with many heart healthy benefits, including lowering harmful oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, reducing inflammation, decreasing oxidative stress, and improving vascular function and blood lipid profile.
  • Strawberries’ bright red coloring signals improved heart health since the anthocyanin pigments that give the berries their color are full of rich antioxidants. Observational studies have concluded fewer heart-related deaths among those who consumed strawberries. In a study among middle-aged participants that contained risk factors for heart disease, there were improvements in HDL (good) cholesterol, blood pressure and blood platelet function. 
  • Ellagic acid, a polyphenol antioxidant, and ellagitannins may help prevent cancer and deter cancer cell growth. Antioxidants, like lutein and zeathancins, may fend off and neutralize harmful free radicals. 
  • Diabetics can enjoy and benefit from strawberries since they contain a relatively low glycemic index and aren’t known to spike blood sugar; in fact, they may even play an important role in maintaining healthy levels. 
  • Vitamin C rich properties are known to boost the immune system, protect eyes from harmful UV rays, decrease the risk of developing cataracts, and strengthen the cornea and retina. 
  • Vitamin C also plays a key role in beauty by amping up collagen that maintains skin’s firmness, elasticity and resilience. Research studies found that ellagic acid in strawberries had a bearing on collagen damage and inflammatory response and may help prevent wrinkles caused by UVB sun rays. 

STRAWBERRY POMEGRANATE WHITE TEA SPRITZER

Combine the following ingredients: Muddled strawberries, strawberry juice or simple syrup, pomegranate seeds, white tea (chilled), prosecco/champagne/sparkling rose, and grenadine. Add a strawberry slice to garnish, and pour over ice to serve.

STRAWBERRIES (COFFEE/CHOCOLATE/COCONUT) ‘N CREAM COCKTAIL 

Combine the following ingredients: Muddled strawberries, espresso/Kahlua/chocolate or carob nut milk/coconut rum/coconut milk, Bailey’s Irish Cream, whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings/chocolate syrup/coconut flakes. Add strawberry slices to garnish and pour over ice to serve.

THYME FOR STRAWBERRY GIN (& JASMINE GREEN TEA) TONIC

Combine the following ingredients: Strawberry juice and/or muddled strawberries, jasmine green tea, gin, tonic water, coffee grounds mixed with cocoa/carob powder and white sugar for rimming. Add a sprig of thyme/wedge of lime/sliced strawberry to garnish and pour over ice to serve.

STRAWBERRY LEMON-/LIME-ADE MINT MOJITO 

Combine strawberry slices and fresh peppermint or spearmint and crush together for bolder flavors. Pour in rum/bourbon or lemonade/limeade (made with water, lemon juice/lime juice, and sweetened to taste). Add club soda/seltzer, and garnish with lemon wedge, strawberry slice and/or sprig of mint.

STRAWBERRY MATCHA CREAMSICLES/POPSICLES/ICE CUBES

Puree in blender: Strawberries, matcha tea, yogurt/plant based milk (optional), honey/stevia to sweeten and pour into popsicle mold(s) and/or ice cube tray(s). Store in the freezer and serve frozen.

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB CRUMBLE

Ingredients: 4 cups diced fresh rhubarb (4-5 stalks), 4 cups fresh strawberries (hulled and halved), 1½ teaspoons grated orange zest, 1½ teaspoons stevia or 1 tablespoon honey/maple syrup, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, ½ cup cranberry or pomegranate juice, 1 cup flour, 1½ sticks softened unsalted butter or 3½ tablespoons coconut oil, ½ cup granola, ¼ cup rolled oats, ½ cup chopped pecans/walnuts/slivered almonds (optional), vanilla or strawberry ice cream for serving and fresh, sliced strawberry to garnish.

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 1. Let cornstarch dissolve in fruit juice, stir in zest and sweetener, and spoon over fresh fruit in a baking dish. 2. Mix together butter or coconut oil with granola, rolled oats and nuts. 3. Spread mixture over fruit. 4. Bake for about 45 minutes to one hour. 5. Serve with a scoop or two of ice cream and sliced strawberry garnish.

Recipe adapted from foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/strawberry-rhubarb-crisp-recipe-1973658.

STRAWBERRY ORANGE MARMALADE 

Ingredients: 2 cups chopped fresh (or frozen) strawberries, 1 cup chopped oranges, clementines/tangerines/kumquats, 2 lemons, 2-3 teaspoons honey, 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger and 1 tablespoon whiskey/bourbon/rum.

Instructions: 1. Stir together fruit and other ingredients in saucepan. Bring to boil and stir steadily for about five minutes. 2. Reduce heat to simmer on low, and cook for about 10 minutes. 3. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes. 4. Pour into jars when cool, cover with lids and refrigerate. Keeps fresh in the fridge about a month. 

Recipe adapted from myrecipes.com/recipe/strawberry-orange-jam.

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