Jordan Douglas, MS, HHC
Although strawberries are technically a spring fruit, with a peak season of May to June here in Virginia, to me they are the first glimpse and taste of all the juicy abundance summer has to offer. Strawberries are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, some B vitamins, potassium, manganese, and fiber. Strawberries are also an abundant source of antioxidants, distributed through the flesh, seeds and skin of the fruit. The antioxidants found in strawberries help to support heart health, reduce inflammation, and promote vibrancy in the skin. With a high water content, strawberries are incredibly hydrating, refreshing, and soothing to our cells and tissues.
Strawberries are number 1 on the Dirty Dozen list, meaning that commercial and non-organic strawberries are highly sprayed with pesticides and irradiated. Opt for organic strawberries, or better yet choose local strawberries while they are in peak season, and chat with your farmer about their growing practices. At the market, you’re looking for strawberries that are a full and deep red, slightly soft and lightly fragrant. Keep in mind that strawberries don’t ripen off the vine, so any berries with green or white tips will stay that way and won’t be quite as sweet.
Now… what to do with all your strawberries?! Obviously, strawberries are perfectly delicious out of hand, in smoothies, covered in chocolate, on top of yogurt or granola bowls, etc. Strawberry jam and strawberry shortcake are other classic favorites. If you’re looking for a little extra inspiration, check out these recipes and ideas:
- Strawberry vinegar. A culinary delight and easy kitchen medicine. Simply rinse and stem your berries then give them a rough chop. Add them to a sterile mason jar, then cover with apple cider vinegar. Label your jar and let it sit in a cool dark place for a week or two. Strain and enjoy!
- Strawberry and basil make for an undeniable combination. Try them together in a light, nut-free tart or in a pizza.
- Strawberry and rose are another magical pairing. Try this lassi or this aqua fresca for a refreshing early summer beverage.
- Wondering what to do with your strawberry tops? Add them to a jar, cover with water and let them steep for an hour or so for strawberry-infused water. Cover them with vinegar, following the same process for strawberry vinegar above. Add the leaves to smoothies.
- Use them in your dental care. Seriously! An old kitchen remedy for removing plaque and tartar, keeping gums health, and strengthening teeth is to rub a halved strawberry or strawberry top on the teeth and gums and let sit for a bit before brushing and rinsing. You can dip the berry or top in a bit of baking soda first for further whitening.
- Post-sun care. Strawberries are a hydrating, antioxidant-packed snack to take pool-side, beach-side, or on any sun-filled adventure. If you’ve had a little too much fun in the fun, you can rub a cut strawberry on the skin after washing to cool, tone and soothe the skin.