Post by Contributing Writer, Nada
Strawberries are the angels of the earth,
innocent and sweet with green leafy wings
Hurray for June! The warmth of the sun caresses the land gently and warms the plants to life. The fruits of the earth ripen rich and sweet and we immerse ourselves in their luscious flavors, experiencing all the gifts our Heavenly Father has to offer us.
June is also the time for strawberries. Did you know that strawberries are considered a “false fruit”? It’s actually the seeds- millions of tiny seeds on the outside– which are the true “fruit” of the plant. Strawberries are technically inside out!
When picking strawberries, choose ones that are firm and dry. Soft, mushy ones are too old. Look for a deep, red color and bright green stems and leaves. Avoid berries that are white, yellow or green, as they aren’t quite ripe. Once harvested, strawberries do not ripen further, so don’t pick them unripened for use later.
The phrase, “the bigger, the better!” doesn’t apply to strawberries. In fact, the smaller they are, the more intense the flavor. The larger ones tend to contain more water and less flavor. So, stick to the medium sized berries to get the best bang. Strawberries are an excellent source of our good friend, vitamin C. They’re also a good source of magnesium and fiber.
Strawberries are prone to mold quickly. You can often find boxes of moldy ones on the discount rack in your local grocery store. These aren’t always a great deal, as the mold can spread quickly and ruin the whole batch before you get a chance to prepare them. Avoid containers that contain moisture and rotten berries.
Depending on where you are in the world, you can expect to find fresh strawberries harvested locally between May and November, but their peak times are June, July and August.
If you purchase them in a package, check it over right away and remove any that are less than fresh. Keep strawberries in their container and keep it wrapped with paper towels and plastic wrap, or in a larger covered container on a sheet of paper towel.
Air and water can harm picked strawberries and quicken their spoilage. Wash and cut them just before use. They can be refrigerated for up to five days before spoiling.
We’ve all experienced the absolute delight of biting into a fresh, juicy strawberry. But if not eating them this way, they’ll need to be hulled. This simply means cutting the t0p off to remove the green leaves and stem. With a little practice, this can be done without sacrificing too much of the precious berry flesh.
I love freezing strawberries because they don’t need to be blanched. Simply rinse, hull and freeze on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper! Once frozen solid, you can put them in a plastic bag or container and voila! They’re ready for use! They will keep for up to six months this way.
The possibilities with strawberries are endless. Jams, cookies, muffins, pies, smoothies, juices, and of course, fresh and raw! But I will share with you a simple recipe for a gluten-free Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble!
Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
1 1/2 cup sliced fresh or frozen Rhubarb
1/2 cup sliced fresh or frozen Strawberries
3/4 cup Sucanat
4 tbsp Brown Rice Flour, divided
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 cup Almond Flour
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
1/8 tsp gluten free real Vanilla Extract
2 tbsp cold Butter
In a small bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sucanat, 1 tbsp rice flour, and cinnamon. Transfer to a greased 3-cup baking dish.
In another bowl, combine the remaining rice flour, almond flour, brown sugar, and vanilla; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over fruit mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Nada is a first-time mom to a delightful little girl and the wife to a wise and wonderful man. With a background in fitness and nutrition, she enjoys healthy cooking, green cleaning and especially writing, and has acquired a vast knowledge of interesting little facts… about everything! She aspires to be a Godly woman that her daughter is proud to call “Mom” and through her blog, miniMOMist, she discusses how attachment parenting, minimalism, simplicity and frugal living help in her everyday mission.