After months of dinners centered around sturdy winter roots and ultra-healthy green leaves, our mouths crave a little something sweet. Just a momentary indulgence, we tell ourselves. The real truth, is that the diet plan we’ve followed so faithfully since January resolution time rests on shaky ground. There’s only so many months of dietary virtue one can take. Luckily, Mother Nature is on our side, as spring strawberries have recently appeared on the scene—just as the tall chocolate cake on the bakery shelf catches our wandering eye. Just in the nick of time.
A fully ripe strawberry makes its presence known as well, with its luscious scarlet flesh and alluring fruit perfume that invades the kitchen space. Grabbing the spotlight. Who can help but succumb? Any guilt we feel biting into a sweet berry can be tucked quickly aside—these beauties have more than pure pleasure to offer our good health (depending on what sort of accompaniment we choose, of course). Strawberries are simply loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients including Vitamin C and cancer-fighting anthocyanin (the pigment that gives berries their bright splash of red or blue color). Considerable research supports the benefits of berries in our diets—so indulge, the more, the better.
Toss sliced strawberries into salad for an unexpected explosion of sweetness (pictured above left). Fold them diced, into creamy salsa, with avocado cubes (pictured below) and bright mango. Toast crusty wheat bread and slather with fresh ricotta cheese mixed with orange or lime zest and top with sliced berries (roast them if you like). Crown with a drizzle of locally produced honey for an extra bit of indulgence. For dessert marinate strawberries in balsamic vinegar and spoon over vanilla ice cream—just a tiny scoop. And on a special occasion bake them under a blanket of sweet crisp topping with another spring favorite, rhubarb.
Or better yet, simply rinse a pint of berries right in their plastic container and use the mother-nature-provided green-leaf handle to pop a bite straight into your mouth. Nothing more is needed. This is picked-at-its-prime, local fruit at its best. And sweetest.
Strawberry Ideas for the Week:
Toss together a simple salad: arugula, lettuce, shaved shallot, cubed avocado, sliced strawberries, feta cheese, toasted walnuts. Dress with a simple vinaigrette of one part white wine or champagne vinegar to 3 or 4 parts walnut oil and a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.