Is there anything quite like the sweet-nectar aroma of perfectly ripe strawberries mixed with a bit of warm earth on a sunny day? This description brings back vivid memories of my childhood, when I picked strawberries with my family in the Pacific Northwest at the nearby U-pick strawberry farm. The strawberry farm’s policy indicated you only had to pay for the amount of strawberries you picked and placed in the wooden crates (not your belly). So, oh how I gorged on the plumpest, ripest berries, toasty warm from the sun, letting the juices drip down my chin and onto my t-shirt!
When it’s strawberry season—which lasts long in my neck of the woods in California, I just can’t get enough of these sweet, juicy berries. You will always find a flat in my fridge, which I will use in cereals, salads, dips, smoothies, and fruit desserts. Best of all, they are good as a super healthy snack plain and simple, just give them a quick rinse, and gobble them up.
Beyond amazing taste, they offer powerful nutrition. Strawberries—like all North American berries—are potent in plant compounds linked with health benefits. Not only are they packed with vitamin C and fiber, they are rich with disease-protective phytochemicals that lend them their bright red colors. A body of research shows show that strawberries can help fight inflammation, and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. That’s why I recommend eating berries, including strawberries, every single day. In fact, you may want to aim for 8-a-day of strawberries for good health. While they are in season now, enjoy them as often as you can. But you can also turn to frozen (even dried strawberries) in the off-season.
Check out my top 5 ways to use strawberries, and watch the video for one of my favorite recipes featuring this berry: Berry Quinoa Power Bowl.
Top 5 Ways to Use Strawberries
1. Au Naturel. There’s little that can improve upon Mother Nature’s fresh, ripe strawberry, perfect and simple all on it’s own. Just rinse it, pop that top off, and munch it down. These crimson gems are the perfect go-to snack or dessert.
2. Breakfast Topper. Power up on strawberries for breakfast by adding them to your cereal bowl, pancake or waffle, yogurt, or smoothie. Let those antioxidant compounds wash over your body first thing in the morning. Studies even show you can mitigate the harmful inflammatory effects of poor diet choices by adding strawberries to a meal. That’s how powerful these little guys are.
3. Salad Boost. I adore sliced strawberries in salads. Just mix them into your favorite greens, the more pungent the better (think arugula, kale, spinach, baby chard). Try tossing with a balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing, and add in a few crunchy nuts for a mind-blowing salad.
4. Fruit Forward Desserts. I’m a big fan of serving fruit for dessert. And one way to do that is simple, fruit-centric treats, such as crumbles, bars, and pies. Check out my recipe for Strawberry Coconut Almond Coffee Cake for starters.
5. Sandwich Filler. Did you know that sliced strawberries are wonderful in all sorts of sandwiches, including peanut butter on whole wheat, Mediterranean flatbread open-face sandwiches, pita sandwiches with hummus, and even toasted pizza-breads? Yep, just spread nut and seed butter on your favorite bread, then layer on the sliced strawberries.
Check out my Berry Quinoa Power Bowl and video here.
Find out my favorite ways to use even more plant foods with these handy guides:
Top 5 Ways to Use Tempeh
Top 5 Ways to Use Persimmons
Top 5 Ways to Use Quinoa