That's right. These delicious little berries are rich in polyphenols which are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging benefits. We're sharing a few of our favorite Zone-friendly strawberry recipes to try this summer and a few tips to help you and your family pick out the best berries at your local farm or grocery store.
As a child in Connecticut, a trip to the beach in the early days of summer always included a stop at a roadside strawberry stand. These quaint little reminders of the past still pop up throughout the countryside during June when strawberries are in season.
A bowl full of whole berries with the tops still on is my favorite way to serve and enjoy fresh strawberries.
Here are some other yummy ideas:
- Zone Parfait—Layer sliced berries with Zone Cereal, Greek yogurt and slivered almonds for a fresh and satisfying parfait.
- Salsa—Add chopped berries into your favorite salsa. It's an unexpected delicious addition to a summer barbecue.
- Flavored—Freeze berries into ice cubes. Use to add color and flavor to a tall glass of water.
- Fruit Cooler—Crush a couple of berries and fresh mint leaves in the bottom of a glass and fill with chilled sparkling water.
- Fancy Salad—Make a simple salad of steamed asparagus topped with sliced strawberries, low-fat or fat-free feta, slivered almonds, Zone Olive Oil and a drizzle of lemon juice.
- Smoothie—Blend strawberries, Zone Protein Powder and Olive Oil for a tasty and filling smoothie. Add ice to obtain desired consistency.
Berry Picking Is Fun for All Ages
Whether from a local berry farm or a roadside patio table laden with boxes of ripe, bright red just-picked berries, the taste of a strawberry at its peak ripeness, picked only hours earlier is beyond compare—sweet, not sugary and loaded with delectable flavor. My mom would be sure to buy an extra box of these mouth-watering treats for my brothers and me to enjoy on the trip home, and we’d devour them in no time. Little did we know that those irresistible sun-kissed berries were also a powerhouse of nutrition.
Berry picking is a deliciously fun outing for people of all ages. Larger farms grow many varieties so you’ll be sure to find one that pleases your palate.
Follow these tips to make the most of your strawberry field trips:
|Pick-Your-Own||Your Cheat Sheet|
|Call ahead. Picking times can vary from day to day. If you’re bringing the little ones, find out if the farm allows younger children into the berry picking fields.||Ripening. Strawberries do not ripen after they are picked. With berries from the local strawberry farm and those you pick up at the grocery store, take care to choose bright red, fully-matured berries.|
|Go early. For the best choice of berries, plan to go as soon as they open.||Storing. Keep fresh picked berries out of the sun,
even on the trip home. Strawberries are
very perishable. Store in a cool place.
|Come prepared. Bring a hat and some water. It’s hot and sunny in the middle of a strawberry field. And since eating is half the fun of strawberry picking, dress the kids appropriately. They’ll be covered with strawberry juice from head to toe by the time you’re done.||Preparation. Use the ripest berries first. Rinse berries just before use and remove the stems after washing. If you don’t have a fancy strawberry-coring tool, use a ½ teaspoon measuring spoon. One quick scoop into the top of the berry will pop out the core, cap, leaves and stem.|
|Choose wisely. Look for plump, vibrant red berries with few white or green areas and clean looking caps and leaves.||Freezing. Gently wash the berries and drain well on a paper towel. Freeze on a cookie sheet in a single layer. After the berries are frozen, transfer to airtight containers to store.|
Craving more Zone-friendly recipes? We have hundreds! Check out some of our other recipes today. What are your favorite ways to spice up simple recipes with strawberries? Share in the comments below.