Every fruit and vegetable has a prime time of the year when it is at its very best with extra flavor and juiciness and June is an optimum month for the strawberry.
Strawberries are probably the most popular of all the berries. There are approximately seventy-five varieties of wild strawberries found in the United Sates alone and all of them are edible. The commercial fruits we know today are the result of an 1835 cross between one of the small, wild strawberries native to Europe and North America and a walnut-sized strawberry of Chile. Although the cross-produced a berry of good size and flavor, wild strawberries have a flavor that is unequaled by any commercial berry.
The strawberry is an unusual fruit in that its seeds are embedded in its surface rather than protected within. The sweetest and most nutritious strawberries are those that have been sun-ripened on the plant due to the fact that the amount of vitamin C increases the longer the berries remain unpicked in the sun.
The early Greeks had a taboo against eating any red foods, including wild strawberries, and this added mystery to the fruit, leading many to believe that it possessed great powers. Strawberries are often associated with fairy folk, and in Bavaria, a basket of the fruit is sometimes tied between a cow’s horns to please the elves so that they bless the cow with abundant milk. During the Middle Ages, pregnant women avoided the berries because they believed their children would be born with ugly red birthmarks if they ate them. In art and literature the strawberry is usually a symbol of sensuality and earthly desire.
Strawberries are highly rated as a skin-cleansing food, even though skin eruptions may increase at first as they rid the blood of harmful toxins. Hives or other allergic reactions to the berries are most likely due to eating them in their unripe state or when they have not been fully vine-ripened.
Strawberries are essential for cardiac health and offer good nutritional energy that is easy to digest and process. All berries, but especially strawberries, are good sources of the anti-cancer compound ellagic acid. They are among the highest organic sodium fruits and are good for the intestinal tract. However, the seeds can be irritating if a person has colitis or inflammation of the bowel. Their considerable vitamin properties are mostly lost during cooking so although strawberry jelly, jams and preserves may taste good, they have only a fraction of their original natural vitamins. The addition of sugar renders them acidic and detrimental to the body so it’s best to consume them raw, fresh and ripe, with nothing added.
When purchasing strawberries look for unblemished fruit with a deep red color and a soft, delightful fragrance. Avoid those with green or white tips as well as overly large varieties, since they have not had enough sun to ripen thoroughly and develop their full sweetness.
Strawberries are delicious in a variety of raw recipes which are quick and easy to prepare and absolutely delicious.
Strawberry Banana Parfait
2 pints fresh strawberries
6 medjool dates
3 very ripe bananas
Pit the dates. Put 1 ripe banana in the Vita-Mix blender with 3 pitted dates and add a little water. Blend into a cream. Take out of the Vita-Mix and set aside. Put 1 pint of fresh strawberries, 3 dates and a little water in the Vita-Mix. Blend into a cream. Take out of the Vita-Mix and set aside. Cut up 2 bananas into slices. Cut up 1 pint strawberries into slices. Put a layer of banana cream, top with sliced bananas, top with strawberry cream and top all that with strawberry slices.
Brenda Cobb is author of The Living Foods Lifestyle® and founder of The Living Foods Institute, an Educational Center and Therapy Spa in Atlanta offering Healthy Lifestyle Courses on Nutrition, Cleansing, Healing, Anti-Aging, Detoxification, Relaxation and Cleansing Therapies. For more information, call 404-524-4488 or
1-800-844-9876 and visit www.livingfoodsinstitute.com.