One Word – Strawberries!!
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This spring heart-shaped staple announcing the beginning of the growing season is the first clue that this fruit is good for you. These potent little packages protect your heart, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, and guard against cancer.
Packed with vitamins, fiber, and particularly high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols, strawberries are a sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie food. They are among the top 20 fruits in antioxidant capacity and are a good source of manganese and potassium. Just one serving — about eight strawberries — provides more vitamin C than an orange.
Strawberries are now the most popular berry fruit in the world. In provincial France, they were regarded as an aphrodisiac. These red gems may be good for your heart in more ways than one.
Here are some deluxe recipes to try to add strawberries to your weekly menu!
Make Ahead Strawberry Smoothie Freezer Packs
- 2½ cups whole strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or chopped mango, divided
- 2½ cups sliced banana, divided
- 5 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk or soymilk, divided
- Place ½ cup strawberries (or other fruit) and ½ cup banana in a sealable plastic sandwich bag. Repeat with the remaining fruit to make 4 more bags. Store in the freezer until ready to use.
- To make a smoothie: Place the contents of one bag into a blender along with 1 cup almond milk (or soymilk). Blend until smooth.
- To make ahead: Store smoothie packs in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Serves 5. Each serving contains Calories 133, Fat 4 g, Fiber 5 g, Carbohydrates 26 g, Protein 2 g, Cholesterol 0 g, Sugar 13 g, Sodium 182 mg.
Strawberry Buttermilk Sherbet
- 2 cups chopped strawberries
- ⅓ cup agave nectar
- 1½ cups whole buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons Chambord (raspberry-flavored liqueur)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (optional)
- Combine berries and nectar in a blender; process until smooth (about 1 minute). Add buttermilk; process until well blended. Add liqueur; pulse to mix. Add juice, if desired.
- Chill mixture 1 hour. Pour into freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Serves 6. Each serving contains Calories 135, Fat 2 g, Fiber 1 g, Carbohydrates 24 g, Protein 2 g, Cholesterol 9 mg, Sodium 74 mg.
Best Ever Strawberry Gazpacho
- 1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped (about 1⅓ cups)
- ½ English cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
- ½ medium red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1 pound ripe strawberries, hulled and halved
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon chopped thyme
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup organic vegetable broth
- 6 strawberries, sliced
- Place tomato, cucumber, and bell pepper in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add halved strawberries to processor; pulse until finely chopped. Add chopped strawberries to cucumber mixture, stirring to combine. Reserve 1 cup strawberry mixture; return remaining strawberry mixture, garlic, and thyme to processor; process until pureed. Return mixture to bowl; stir in olive oil, vinegar, salt, black pepper, and reserved 1 cup strawberry mixture.
- Cover and chill 4 to 8 hours. Stir in broth. Garnish with sliced strawberries.
Strawberry Orange Tart
- 5 ounces gluten-free arrowroot cookies (about 50 cookies)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- Cooking spray
- 2 cups 1% low-fat milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups sliced strawberries
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- To prepare crust, place cookies and 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor; process until finely ground. Add butter; process until blended and moist. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 30 minutes on a wire rack.
- To prepare filling, combine milk and egg yolks in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine ½ cup sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Slowly pour milk mixture into sugar mixture, stirring with a whisk until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in butter, orange rind, and vanilla. Pour filling into cooled crust. Cover surface of filling with plastic wrap. Chill at least 3 hours.
- Uncover; top filling with strawberry slices. Chill until ready to serve.
Serves 12. Each serving contains Calories 204, Fat 9 g, Fiber 1 g, Carbohydrates 30 g, Protein 3 g, Cholesterol 83 mg, Sodium 72 mg.
Strawberry Basil Chicken
- 3-4 large chicken breasts
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves crushed
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
- 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze*
- Begin by heating a large skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic, cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Prepare your chicken breasts: you may need to pound the breast to make them a bit thinner, mine were approximately 1 inch. Salt and pepper each side, add to pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side (until golden brown, but cooked through). Set aside.
- Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Toss together strawberries, basil, balsamic and 1 tbsp. olive oil. Top each chicken breast with strawberry mixture, and salt and pepper to taste. Add additional balsamic glaze or balsamic if needed. Serve immediately.
*Balsamic glaze is thick syrup like version of balsamic vinegar; it is also a bit sweeter. It can be found in some grocery stores near salad dressings.
Mixed Berry Walnut Salad
- 3 tablespoons whole buttermilk
- 1 ounce goat cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups spring mix
- 1 cup quartered strawberries
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- 2 tablespoons toasted chopped walnuts
- Combine buttermilk, goat cheese, honey, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add spring mix, strawberries, blueberries, and walnuts; toss.
Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 91, Fat 94g, Fiber 2 g, Carbohydrates 30 g, Protein 4 g, Cholesterol 5 mg, Sodium 229 mg.