While blueberries often get all the attention for their antioxidant and brain-boosting potential, strawberries should not be overlooked.
Research has shown that daily consumption of strawberries showed improvement in short-term memory among other things. Read on.
Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C, especially when allowed to ripen before being picked. This means a freshly harvested local berry is going to have a more profound nutritional profile than a commercial berry.
Strawberries also contain a good amount of fiber (think about all those tiny seeds). Good for you and your heart.
The pretty berry contains the flavonoids to help fight free radical damage. In fact, an article printed in ScienceDaily a few years ago stated that 37 strawberries a day “could keep not just one doctor away, but an entire fleet of them, including the neurologist, the endocrinologist, and maybe even the oncologist.”
The flavonoids in the strawberries have anti-inflammatory properties, reducing the activity of the enzyme called COX. This is the same enzyme blocked when you take aspirin or a NSAID. Yet strawberries support the health of your colon and heart.
The micronutrient profile of the strawberry is even more impressive. You can expect to be consuming select B vitamins along with manganese and iron when you feast among the strawberry fields.
Strawberries have been known to have a tranquilizing effect. Apparently this is why dental anesthesia and surgical gloves are often scented with strawberry.
However, strawberries are among the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen.” This means that they’re one of the top 12 fruits or vegetables loaded with pesticides and one that you should always buy organic. Consider this: There is no other commercial fruit more laden with agricultural chemicals.
There are over 600 varieties of strawberries. I had no idea until I moved to the Northwest and started sampling and planting my own. The shape, flavor, and season differ with the varieties, but all have that telltale strawberry-look and taste in some way or another—the red-pocked flesh, the heart-shaped body, and the green capped head.
Strawberries don’t ripen after picking. You want to catch them at the right time for maximum flavor. Try not to leave them at room temperature or in sunlight for too long, which will cause them to deteriorate and spoil. Best plan? Pick and eat!
To freeze strawberries: Gently wash and remove any that have acquired mold or mush. Remove stems or don’t. (I don’t.) Pat dry. Place berries on a cookie sheet and freeze in a single layer. Once frozen, berries can be stored in a freezer storage container of your choosing.
Dairy-Free Strawberry ‘Mascarpone’ Tart
This recipe is loaded with so much goodness that I’d say it’s fine for a weekend, holiday, breakfast, or brunch. It’s rich and decadent but not sickly sweet.
The recipe we chose was adapted from one with its same name from Matthew Kenney’s book “Everyday Raw Desserts.”
- 1 cup almonds, soaked for 2 hours
- 1 cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours
- 4 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups macadamia nuts, soaked for 2 hours
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup yacon syrup
- 10 drops liquid lemon stevia
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon miso paste
- Pinch sea salt
Grease a tart pan with coconut oil or ghee.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Drain the nuts for the crust, pat dry, and pulse in a food processor until fine.
Add remaining crust ingredients to the food processor and pulse until a well-blended dough forms.
Remove dough from the processor and press into the tart pan, careful to press evenly around the base and gently up the sides, creating a nice “container” for your filling.
Bake the tart crust for 20–25 minutes. Allow to cool.
To make the “mascarpone,” drain the nuts and add them to a high-speed blender or food processor with all the other ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy.
Scoop the filling into the cooled tart crust. Spread evenly on the base.
Place strawberries on top of the filling, covering as much as you’d like for decorative and deliciousness factors.
Cool in the fridge for at least one hour before serving.
With a career born of a personal family health crisis, functional nutritionist Andrea Nakayama takes the idea of food as personalized medicine beyond a clinical practice. Her online programs at ReplenishPDX.com and HolisticNutritionLab.com guide her clients in taking ownership over their health. She may be contacted at Info@ReplenishPDX.com