July 28, 2014

The glory of gardening: Sampling strawberries

Strawberry season is here.

Gardens are like relationships, requiring time, effort and plenty of loving care. Without these proper nutrients, the relationship we have with ourselves and with others cannot flourish.

It is vitally important to fertilize the seeds of our imagination, our hearts and our spirits, so that the garden of life will be filled with beauty and nourishment.

Just like with a garden, the body responds best to proper watering and being fed high quality food. With consistent care, the body and mind grown strong and healthy enough to meet life’s physical and emotional challenges.

Limiting processed foods and replacing them with fresh-from-the-garden produce will result in many healing benefits.

Strawberries are a succulent, sweet gift from the garden that are available locally in June. Not only are strawberries full of sensational flavor and blessed with an extraordinary scent, they are an exceptionally healthy food.

Rich in vitamin C and manganese, strawberries also contain plenty of dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B5 and B6. This immensely popular berry can help protect the heart, while potentially safeguarding against cancer, inflammation, macular degeneration and rheumatoid arthritis.

Luscious strawberries are a delightful addition to a bowl of cereal, blended into smoothies, or added to pancake batter or muffins for an occasional Sunday morning treat. A healthy day can begin with strawberries added to yogurt, with a bit of honey and a chopped walnut or two. Sliced strawberries atop baby salad greens dressed with a balsamic strawberry vinaigrette and embellished with chopped pistachios and goat cheese make for an elegant early summer salad.

If you are lucky enough to live near a pick-your-own strawberry farm, enjoy an outing to the field and support your local, hard-working farmers who cultivate this delicious, dynamic food. If purchasing at the supermarket, look for bright red, unblemished berries with an intoxicating aroma. They are quite perishable, so plan to use your strawberries within a couple of days. Store them in the refrigerator, unwashed, until ready to use. Rinse very well under cool water and prepare to enjoy!

May you enjoy a healthy harvest as you sew the seeds of your delicious life!

 

Strawberry Supreme

Serves six.

 

6-8 cups fresh strawberries (caps removed, well washed; pat dry and slice)

3 tablespoons organic honey

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 cup nonfat, plain, organic Greek yogurt

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup toasted, slivered almonds

sprigs of fresh mint

 

Gently mix together strawberries, honey, orange juice and 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar and let sit until there is a nice bit of juice in the bottom of the bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together yogurt with 1/4 cup brown sugar and vanilla extract. Divide strawberries into six pretty serving dishes, top with yogurt and sprinkle with toasted almonds. Garnish with fresh mint.

 

Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP is a passionate  food  and wellness professional who received her certification in holistic health counseling from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University Teacher’s College. She specializes in teaching healthy cooking classes to children and adults utilizing fresh, natural ingredients and simple, delicious recipes. She also conducts workshops and classes for many local organizations. For more information go to www.theconsciouscook.net.