Thursday, May 19, 2016

12 Healthy And Delicious Things To Do With Fresh Strawberries

Fresh strawberries can be used in so many delicious ways.

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Fresh Strawberries
My garden is presenting me with the most beautiful strawberries. Last year I dedicated one of my raised garden beds to growing strawberries. We got a small harvest last season, they lived through the winter, and now they are producing in force. 

My strawberry bed

If you have strawberries in your garden or if you go to the farmers market and get inspired to buy an entire flat of these beautiful berries, you may now be asking yourself, "what should I do with all this fruit?" Here are some ideas.

Prep the Strawberries
Of course strawberries are often nice and sweet and you can just pop them in your mouth, but many can be tart and a little hard. So you may want to prep them with a tiny bit of sugar. It doesn't take very much and it makes a big difference.

Just slice fresh strawberries and place them in a bowl. Sprinkle a teaspoon of granulated sugar over them, stir well and set aside for 20 minutes until the berries soften and begin to release their juice. Now they are ready to enjoy as is or in a few of the following dishes.

Softened strawberries

#1 French Toast Smothered in Strawberries
One of my favorite things to do with strawberries, is to use them over French toast or pancakes. Smothering French toast or pancakes allows you to skip the butter and syrup!

French toast with strawberries

#2 PB&S
You've heard of PB&J- well, skip the jelly and place some "prep'ed" strawberries over your favorite nut butter on a muffin or slice of bread. Try Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel Muffins with Almond Butter and Fresh Strawberries

Almond butter and fresh strawberries on an Ezekiel muffin

I also love placing strawberries on Kite Hill vegan cream cheese on a whole wheat English Muffin.

Sliced strawberries and Kite Hill or Tofutti non-dairy
cream cheese on a whole wheat English muffin.

#3 Strawberry Banana Fruit Leather
Just whip up a 2 cups of strawberries and 2 large bananas in a blender, pour onto 2 large Teflex dehydrator sheets and dehydrate until leathery and pliable. Just follow my recipe for Vegan Blueberry Banana Fruit Leather and substitute the blueberries with strawberries. These make a wonderful snack!

Pour mixture onto a dehydrator sheet
Strawberry banana fruit leather

#4 Strawberries on Greens
Most people think of putting tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, etc. on their greens but fruit is a wonderful addition to salads. Try my Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Orange Vinaigrette. or just add sliced and "prep'ed" strawberries to any green salad.

Spinach and Strawberry salad

#5 Sugar-Free Popsicles
Popsicles are pretty easy to make and they are especially delicious with fresh strawberries. Check out this low-calorie, sugar-free Strawberry Popsicle recipe.

These strawberry popsicles are only 20 calories each!

#6 Organic Low-Sugar Strawberry Jam
This is one of my favorite things to do with strawberries. Even before I had my own strawberry patch, I would buy flats of fresh strawberries to make this delicious Strawberry Jam.

This strawberry jam is only 12 calories per tablespoon.

I was so excited to discover making jam with Pomona Universal Pectin, that I included an entire chapter in my book, Health Begins in the Kitchen, on making healthy jam. I included recipes for making jam and jelly with various fruits and different sweeteners such as honey, agave, stevia, apple-juice, grape-juice, less sugar, or no sugar at all.

#7 Freezing Strawberries
I love making smoothies in the morning and frozen strawberries are a great addition. To freeze strawberries while they are in season so that you can use them later in your smoothies, first clean them and lay them out on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen, place them in a freezer bag. Label, date, and pop in the freezer. 

Place clean strawberries on a cookie sheet in the freezer.

#8 - Make a Smoothie
You can drop some frozen strawberries in any of your favorite smoothies. Check out this recipe for Strawberry Banana Green Tea Smoothie with Chia Seeds.

#9 - Sliced Strawberries with Honey
There's a Chinese restaurant in town that serves this little desert of sliced strawberries with local honey. It's so simple yet elegant and delicious, especially if you have access to local honey. I also like to add a few dark chocolate covered almonds or a piece of dark chocolate on the side.

Drizzle local honey over sliced strawberries.

#10 - In a Fruit Salad, of Course!
The slight tartness of strawberries pair beautifully with sweet fruits such as papaya, mango, and banana. Check out this Mexican Papaya Salad with Strawberries in a poppy seed dressing.

#11 - Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream
At 73 calories per serving, you can enjoy all the Strawberry Ice Cream you want. 

This strawberry ice cream has 1/3 the calories and 1/10 the fat as Ben and Jerry's strawberry ice cream.

#12 - Vegan Wholewheat Strawberry Muffins
These wholegrain, low-calorie muffins are light and delicious. Check out the recipe for Wholewheat Strawberry Muffins.

Let us know if you have some other good ideas to share!

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