The British strawberry season has come late this year due to our very cold spring, but it has been worth the wait - they are now really sweet and juicy. At least they are in time for Wimbledon! Apparently, the harsh weather slowed growth so that strong root systems had a chance to develop in the plants, and the berries themselves also grew slowly so that the resulting flavours are now very good.
This week my husband brought home this kilo of beautiful strawberries, which had been grown in Hereford. He likes his the traditional way with cream and/or icecream, which I love too, but I also like to blend them into smoothies. I cannot stand the taste of any food that pretends to have strawberries in it. For me it has to be the real thing!
Here is a smoothie recipe that I tried - 1 banana (I used a sliced frozen one), 85g/3oz strawberries and 150g/5 and half oz natural yogurt. I blended the ingredients in my high-power blender until smooth and served immediately, garnishing with a spring of apple mint from the garden. The result is shown above - it was delicious, very refreshing on a hot afternoon.
I also did another healthy one with 10 strawberries, 1-2 tbsp coconut oil (softened), 1 tbsp agave nectar and a tsp vanilla extract, blended together as above. This came out a darker pink colour with a great strawberry taste and a hint of coconut. This came from my research into 'raw' food recipes. I am vegetarian and eat a high percentage of my food raw. It tastes so good, and it is so much better for you than processed food. Coconut oil (which is solid at room temperature), is a multi-purpose superfood. It is the healthiest of all the saturated fats, and not only is it a digestive health supplement, but it is a heat-stable cooking oil and can even be applied directly to the skin as a body moisturiser. It deserves a whole blogpost to itself!
By the way, I use agave nectar, which is a natural sweetener made from the juice of the agave plant, all the time for sweetening. It is 90% fructose and has a much lower glycemic index than honey, maple syrup or cane sugar. These particular strawberries, a variety called Capri, were so sweet that they didn't really need sweetening.