June is my “birthday month,” so I hold a special affection for this time of year. It is also the month that strawberry plants bear abundant fruit in New England. At this very moment, I am lifting up my jar full of iced sun tea garnished with fresh mint, a lemon wedge and chunks of ginger. With my tea I toast you a merry month of June full of warmth, sunshine, fragrant summer rain showers and lots of strawberries!
In the co-housing community where I live, many of my neighbors cultivate their own strawberry patches. Since their season is so short, we can’t get enough of them when they finally ripen! We also have a community patch; these bright red berries make a wonderfully satisfying snack for the children who feast on them between their outside games.
Health Benefits from Strawberries
In addition to being pretty and sweet, strawberries also contain a bunch of anti-oxidants that boost your immune system, reduce inflammation and support the health of your eyes. They contain magnesium and potassium that help reduce blood pressure, and folic acid that prevents birth defects such as spina bifida. Shaped like hearts, they are a powerfully heart-healthy food!
5 Ways to Spread Love with Strawberries
There’s so many strawberries ripening now, so it’s a good thing that there’s so many things to do with them. Here are some ways to enjoy them:
Freeze Them: One tradition I’ve been keeping up the past several years is to wash a handful, spread them out on a pan in my freezer, then store them in a bag to blend with milk for a delicious smoothie in the middle of winter. It’s so satisfying to enjoy their fresh delicious flavor when snow is piling up outside our windows.
Make a Decadent Dessert: Strawberries topped with whipped cream make a delicious finale for the evening meal.
Garnish your Oatmeal with them: Adding the sweetness of strawberries to a bowl of morning oatmeal increases its power to fill you up for a busy morning.
Prepare a batch of Preserves: If you love to preserve food, home-grown strawberries make the sweetest jams.
Bake a Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp: Finally, here is a recipe I adapted and shared with a friend who came over for a visit.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
1/2 Tablespoon Coconut oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Cup freshly-harvested Rhubarb, peeled and chopped small
2 Cups freshly-harvested Strawberries, culled and washed
1 Tablespoon Ginger root, peeled and grated
1 Cup Oats
2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon organic raw honey
How to make it:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Coat baking dish with coconut oil.
- Chop strawberries and rhubarb and mix them together with a tablespoon of honey.
- Add grated ginger and toss with fruit and honey.
- Spread fruit mix evenly in baking dish.
- In a separate bowl, cut butter into thin pats and knead into oats until it becomes the texture of a coarse meal.
- Add ground cinnamon and toss together.
- Top the fruit mix with the oats mix in the baking dish.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden around the edges.
- Serve and enjoy with a scoop of ice cream.