Sweet, juicy strawberries, with their vibrant red color, can brighten up the flavor and look of any meal. Not only delicious, they provide a good source of fiber and contain antioxidants, which protect the human body from cellular damage caused by free radicals.
One cup of strawberries provides 50 calories and about 3 grams of fiber, most of which is soluble fiber. Fiber helps regulate digestion and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease through cholesterol-lowering mechanisms.
The same cup of strawberries contains more than 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C for adults. The body uses vitamin C as an important antioxidant as well as for making collagen, the primary structural component of skin and soft tissue. It also helps heal wounds. Vitamin C assists with the absorption of iron and plays a critical role in the immune system.
Phytonutrients, plant chemicals that contain protective, disease-preventing, compounds, abound in strawberries. Phenolic compounds protect a plant against diseases and environmental elements. They also provide a fruit’s color, flavor, and aroma.
Flavonoids, one type of phenol known to be potent antioxidants, have also been shown in studies to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by inhibiting the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), improving blood-vessel function, and decreasing the tendency for blood clotting. In addition, studies have shown that flavonoids decrease the inflammatory process in the body, which helps protect the heart.
Strawberries have grown wild for millennia throughout the world. Today, more than 600 varieties of strawberries all differ in flavor, size, and texture. Strawberries show up in stores year-round, but peak strawberry season runs April through July. California shares the lead in production, producing almost 2 billion pounds per year.
Strawberries do not ripen after they are picked, so look for ones that are shiny with a deep, red color and are firm, plump, and free of mold. Avoid dull-colored berries and those that have green or yellow patches. Store strawberries loosely covered in the refrigerator, as they spoil easily. Rinse them well right before eating.
Did you know?
Strawberries are a member of the rose family, which is characterized by showy flowers with five separate petals. Strawberries are the only fruit with their seeds on the outside.
How to enjoy strawberries
- Add sliced strawberries to a mixed green salad.
- Layer sliced strawberries and other fruit with plain yogurt to make a parfait dessert.
- Add strawberries to a smoothie with yogurt and orange juice.
- Mix chopped strawberries with cinnamon, lemon juice, and maple syrup to use as a topping for waffles and pancakes.
- Create a coulis sauce for desserts by blending strawberries with a little bit of orange juice.
- Place sliced strawberries on toast instead of jam.
- Dip strawberries in antioxidant rich dark chocolate for a delicious and nutritious dessert.
Source: Dairy Council of California
These Coconut Flour Crepes are simple, healthy sweet crepes to enjoy as a low-carb breakfast or dessert. They are a low-carb alternative to my popular crepe recipe. Coconut Flour Crepes are very low in carbs with only 1.4 grams of net carbs.
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup almond milk or water
- ¼ cup coconut cream melted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional for savory filling)
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 1 tablespoon almond meal (aka, almond flour/ground almond)
- In a large mixing bowl, ingredients in this order: eggs, melted coconut oil, almond milk, coconut cream, vanilla extract, coconut flour, and almond meal. Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat until a smooth batter forms with no lumps. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the coconut flour to soak up the liquid and thicken the batter slightly. Heat a lightly oiled mini egg pan over medium/high heat.
- Pour 1/4 cup of the crepe batter onto the pan, then tip and rotate the pan gently to spread the batter as thinly as possible. Brown on one side first, cook 2-3 minutes until the sides are crispy and come away from the pan easily. The center should be set and dry before flipping to avoid breaking the crepe. Brown the other side, 1 to 2 minutes and serve hot with your favorite fillings.
Strawberry Crepe Filling
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 tablespoons sugar (divided)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 ounces fresh strawberries, quartered and sliced
- 2 teaspoons brandy, rum, or bourbon (option: water)
- 2 teaspoons water
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Mix the spirit and water in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of the sugar to dissolve. It may not dissolve completely. Put the sliced berries into a small bowl. Add the sugar mixture and stir. Set the bowl aside while the strawberries macerate.
- Combine the heavy cream, remaining sweetener, and vanilla in a 2- to 3-cup capacity bowl. Whip until very stiff. Whisk the sour cream in a smallish bowl to loosen. Spoon 1/4 of the whipped cream to the sour cream and gently whisk together. Fold half of the remaining whipped cream into the sour cream mixture with large spoon or a rubber spatula. Add the remaining whipped cream to the sour cream mixture and fold together completely. (The filling can be refrigerated up to a day at this point.) (Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups)
- Spread 1/4 of the whipped cream mixture over one half of four crepes, then fold the bare sides over to cover. Fold each again, corner to corner, like a handkerchief. Place each on a plate. May be covered and chilled for as many as several hours before serving. Stir the strawberries and spoon 1/4 of the topping over each filled crepe, dust with confectioner’s sugar, and serve.
No-Bake, Sugar-Free Strawberry Cheesecake Tart
No bake sugar-free strawberry cheesecake makes a beautiful low-carb dessert tart with cream cheese and goat cheese in an easy hemp-walnut crust.
Walnut Hemp Seed Crust
- 1 cup walnut pieces, toasted
- 1/2 cup hemp seed hearts (Bob’s Red Mill)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1 tablespoon honey
No-Bake Cheesecake Filling
- 4 ounces goat cheese, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese cold
- 4 ounces heavy cream, cold
- 1/4 cup confectioner’s Sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Zest from the lemon
- 6 ounces strawberries, sliced
Walnut Hemp Seed Crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the walnuts on a sheet pan and toast for 15 minutes or until golden in color. Let cool, then rub in a tea towel to remove much of the loosened skin. Use a food processor to grind the hemp seeds and walnuts into a fine meal. Add the melted coconut oil and honey, then pulse to distribute. Line a tart pan with parchment paper. Press the mixture into the pan to form a crust, crust making sure the sides are strong. Wrap tightly and place in the freezer until set.
Add the cream cheese and sugar to a bowl and whip with a hand mixer until loosened. Add the heavy cream and whip until light and fluffy. Finally, add the goat cheese and whip again. Cheese mixture can be refrigerated overnight in a tightly covered container. If kept overnight, whip again to loosen before continuing. Spreading the cheese mixture evenly into the tart crust. Just before serving, add sliced strawberries to the top of the tart.
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