Fun Strawberry Recipes for the Family
San Diego is fortunate to have a long growing season for many types of produce and that includes strawberries. From February through September, you can find pints of the juicy, ripe red berries throughout the whole county.
On National California Strawberry Day, gather the family together and try out some fun family strawberry recipes that will have everyone going back for seconds!
What Makes Strawberries Healthy
Berries are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help keep your body’s immunity strong and running at peak performance. Strawberries in particular are:
- Low in carbs, sugar and calories.
- Packed with vitamins, fiber and very high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols.
- A good source of potassium manganese and potassium.
- Loaded with vitamin C – just eight strawberries provide more vitamin C than one large orange!
Nothing beats freshly picked strawberries. You can find these at farmer’s markets throughout San Diego. Here’s what you should know about selecting and storing your fresh strawberries:
- Organic, locally grown strawberries are the best, whenever possible.
- Look for strawberries that are plump, fragrant and red. Avoid ones that have soft spots or are white or green around the stem.
- If you’re using strawberries right away, it’s best not to refrigerate them because they tend to shrivel. If you do have to refrigerate them, however, lay them flat on a plate or plastic container lined with paper towels and eat them within two days.
- You can freeze whole strawberries for up to six months.
- Do not rinse or remove the stems until you’re ready to eat them.
Fun Strawberry Recipe Ideas
- Add them to salads – Strawberries make fabulous additions to salads without overpowering them. First, choose your greens: spinach, arugula and butter lettuce work best with strawberries. Then, select your lean protein, like pork, chicken or shrimp. Top with almonds, walnuts or pecans and a sprinkling of creamy, crumbly cheese such as goat or blue. Toss with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing, and serve with crusty bread on the side.
- Roast ‘em – If you have overripe strawberries, don’t toss them, roast them! Heat your oven to 300 degrees, put the strawberries in 9×13” baking dish in a single layer, drizzle a little honey on top and cook. After 90 minutes, you’ll have a delectable syrupy topping for fresh vanilla ice cream, pancakes, angel food cake and just about anything else you can imagine.
- Use in smoothies – Start your morning with a healthy, flavorful strawberry-based smoothie! Combine one grapefruit and one juicy apple – such as Honeycrisp or Pink Lady – with a half-pound of strawberries and minced fresh ginger. Put it all in a blender and add a cup of water. There you have a zesty, antioxidant-fueled smoothie perfect for springtime!
- Put on toast with ricotta and honey – Ready for a new spin on toast? Grab a loaf of ciabatta or sourdough, cut off a 1” thick slice and toast it to your liking. Then spread with ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese, if you prefer), thinly sliced strawberries and a little drizzle of honey. You’ve got a tasty, balanced breakfast or snack!
- Strawberry-cucumber water – Tired of plain water but don’t want all the added sugar of juice? Strawberry-cucumber water is a delicious happy medium. In a large pitcher, combine a half-pound of thinly sliced strawberries with a half-pound of thinly sliced English cucumber. Add two liters of water, and let it sit for 2-4 hours in the fridge. Enjoy a fruit-infused treat!
- Chocolate-covered strawberries – Many people think these are a decadent, expensive treat. But the truth is, chocolate-covered strawberries are simple and inexpensive to make right at home! You’ll need a pound of large strawberries and a half-pound of semisweet or dark chocolate. Use a double boiler pot to heat the chocolate on the stove until melted and smooth – about five minutes. Dip each strawberry in chocolate and set on a tray lined with waxed paper. Let the chocolate solidify for 10 minutes. You’ll want to eat them as soon as you can after making them, but they can be kept in the fridge up to one hour (before condensation beads form on the chocolate).