Berries, the perfect fruit for the warmer weather, are popping up everywhere and I’ve got to tell you, they are spectacular. Strawberries, blueberries, even raspberries are making themselves known right about now and because they are so versatile, I think every home should have some.
I prefer blueberries more than any other type, but when push comes to shove I’ll eat pretty much any of them. Strawberries are the most popular due to color; who could resist the bright, flaming-red color and the aroma that comes from the packages?
Did you know strawberries are the only fruit with the seeds on the outside? Just a little trivia there for your information, in case it ever comes up in a conversation.
If you want a nice package of healthy options, along with something to satisfy your sweet tooth, strawberries are exactly what you are looking for. Strawberries are absolutely loaded with nutrients and anti-oxidants and very high in vitamin C.
When buying strawberries, always look for plump berries that are bright in color and the little green stems on top are brightly-colored as well. To maintain that luscious flavor, keep them cool, covered and unwashed. To maximize their flavor, don’t cut or wash until just before eating, and at that point just rinse them under cool water.
Strawberry shortcake rivals apple pie as the all-time favorite American dessert. This time of year, strawberries outsell apples in the markets for that reason. Strawberries make great ice cream or topping to any fruit salad. If you notice, when you have a strawberry topping on a salad, it is the first thing to be picked off. For total decadence, dip them in chocolate and see how long they last. The combination of sweet fruit and sweet chocolate in unmatched.
Today’s recipe is for a strawberry drink made with yogurt. It’s an energy booster that tastes great. I am not a big yogurt fan, but it is good in this drink because you don’t know it’s there. It’s the catalyst for the consistency of the drink and makes it like a smoothie. It’s refreshing and will use up any strawberries you may have left that are just starting to soften up. You don’t waste strawberries, in my book, so this way you don’t have to. It’s actually better when the berries are just at that point of softness anyway. I have tried it with blueberries also and it’s just as good.
The strawberry makes a wonderful garnish on just about any plate. Put them in the center of a cheese tray for color and flavor. Cut them up in salads made with melons, again for color and a nice touch. Keep them in the fridge for a light snack in the afternoon. You’ll get the natural sugar rush but with vitamins, so it doesn’t get much better than that. I keep them in the house for when the two oldest grandchildren come over and they need something quick to munch on.
Treat yourself this week and try the smoothie. It will wake up your taste buds and give you the lift you may need to finish off a tough day at the office.
EASY STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE
7 ounces or one good handful of ice
1 10-ounce can crushed pineapple with the juice
5 ounces fresh strawberries cut up, without the green tops
4 ounces low-fat vanilla yogurt.
Put all in the blender and blend on high until smooth. Drink ice-cold.