A big bowl of ripe, red strawberries conjures up lovely images of spring and summer for many of us, but did you know that this tasty heart-shaped fruit is also a great source of many essential nutrients? Strawberries are packed with health-promoting antioxidants, and one cup of strawberries (or about eight large berries) provides more vitamin C than a medium orange!
Choose strawberries that are bright red, with their green caps still attached. Strawberries stop ripening as soon as they’re picked, so avoid berries with any green patches. At home, spread the unwashed berries in a single layer on a paper towel, cover, and refrigerate. Store berries in a crisper drawer to prolong their freshness. Strawberries are highly perishable, and are best when eaten with a couple days.
Strawberry season typically lasts from June through August, although in some areas, you can find them throughout the year. While they’re in peak season, eat fresh strawberries as often as you can. Add them to a breakfast smoothie, snack on berries during the day, and slice strawberries on top of a dinner salad.
Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb Compote
This compote pairs well with yogurt, granola, pancakes, and waffles. Use your imagination!
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
2 rhubarb stalks, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound strawberries, rinsed, hulled and halved
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the rhubarb and sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes or until syrup begins to form.
3. Add the strawberries, cinnamon, and ground ginger to the bowl, and mix together.
4. Pour the mixture into a nonreactive (glass, ceramic, or stainless steel) baking pan and bake for 30 minutes.
5. Serve at room temperature. Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator.
Strawberry Spinach Salad
This simple summer salad hardly needs a recipe. Combine the ingredients in proportions that suit your fancy, and dress lightly with the vinaigrette.
Baby spinach, rinsed and patted dry
Strawberries, rinsed and sliced
Cucumbers, halved and sliced
Basil leaves, julienned
Crumbled goat cheese
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon honey mustard
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh basil, julienned
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Place salad ingredients in a chilled bowl.
2. Whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette, then toss with the salad.
3. Serve immediately.