Salute your local strawberry: It’s good for what ails you!
By Catharine L. Kaufman
Here’s a primer on getting the best and most from the fleeting and fabulous strawberry season now underway in Southern California. The most popular and Vitamin C-rich berry in the world, the strawberry comes in 600 varieties, both wild and cultivated.
This seedy rose relative is not only recommended for decreasing systolic blood pressure, dulling a throbbing headache and combating the flu, rheumatism and the gout, but also for removing tartar from the teeth. It is packed with Vitamins K and assorted energy-boosting Bs, folic acid, potassium, blood sugar-regulating fiber, heart-healthy omega-3s, magnesium, copper and antioxidants.
Strawberry Meals Forever:
1. Pack whole strawberries for a beach picnic. Eat them solo or serve with a honey yogurt dip or light whipped cream.
2. Slice thin and layer them on whole-wheat toast or swap them out for jams or jellies on your PB or almond butter sandwiches for less sugar and more fresh nutrients.
3. Make them luxuriously drunk, soaked in a blend of fresh squeezed orange or tangerine juice and Grand Marnier or your favorite liqueur. Pour over French toast, waffles, pancakes, and gelato or use this gorgeous elixir to spike a smoothie.
4. Concoct a strawberry gazpacho, a chilled soup with pureed berries, creamy yoghurt and fresh mint.
5. Create savory strawberries by splashing slices with balsamic vinegar, and serve as a topping for grilled salmon, chicken or a dollop for dessert with biscotti or assorted Italian biscuits.
6. Do fondue with melted, heart-healthy bittersweet chocolate or a sweet cheese like mascarpone.
7. Blend strawberries and bananas, fold in chocolate chips, dried cherries or your favorite munchie, freeze and scoop into sorbet bowls. Garnish with fresh mint or basil leaves.
8. To soothe sunburned skin or reduce inflammation, make a cool soak or compress with a blend of strawberry juice and honey. Rinse off with a combo of warm water and lemon juice.
9. Chop up a fruity pico de gallo with chunky strawberries, jicama, cilantro and lime juice. Dip with plantain or banana chips.
10. Make a warm or chilled compote with rhubarb, strawberries and agave syrup. Serve solo, over ice cream or in tart shells.
11. For hot heads, cool the fever with crushed ice and sieved strawberry pulp.
12. As a natural teeth whitener, crush a ripe strawberry with a half-teaspoon of baking powder, and brush away stains and tartar with this malic acid concoction.
13. Jazz up a green salad with sliced strawberries.
14. Accessorize tropical drinks with whole or sliced berries, especially strawberry libations to whet your whistle. Try a strawberry lemonade slurpee, a strawberry mojito, basil spritzer or a strawberry kiss, like a grown-up milkshake blending white rum, Amaretto, strawberries and cream.
15. Make tuxedo strawberries by dipping in both bittersweet and white milk chocolate with a criss-cross pattern.
16. Dial-up the color and flavor of tiramisu by topping with glazed strawberry slices.
17. Place washed berries flat on a cookie sheet, freeze, then store in plastic zip bags, and enjoy all year round.
English Strawberry Trifle
(where possible, use organics)
12 ounces of ladyfingers or pound cake cut in cubes, and 6 more ladyfingers for garnish
8 ounces of fresh strawberries, sliced
8 ounces of blueberries, fresh or frozen
8 ounces of raspberries, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons of praline liqueur or Amaretto
12 ounces of vanilla pudding
2 cups of whipped cream
1 ounce of bittersweet chocolate, shaved or grated
Line the bottom of a large glass bowl or brandy snifter with cake cubes or ladyfingers. Place a mixture of the berries on top of the cake, and sprinkle with liqueur.
In a bowl, combine the pudding and 1 cup of whipped dream. Blend well, and smooth over the berries and cake. Top with ladyfingers, (more liqueur if you desire), remaining whipped cream and shaved chocolate. Chill for 2 hours.
Reach the Kitchen Shrink at email@example.com or check out www.FreeRangeClub.com
How to pick ’em
This time of year choose locally grown strawberries that are sweeter, juicier, plumper, and not truck or jet-lagged like “imported” varieties. Use your olfactory senses for selecting the most fragrant berries, and choose firm, shiny, unblemished ones with bright green stems securely attached. Since strawberries do not continue to ripen once they are picked, what you see is what you get.
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