It’s strawberry season in New England. The season typically begins in June and stretches into early July. This sweet red berry not only tastes great, but it is also an excellent source of vitamin C, manganese, folate, and potassium. In addition, strawberries are also high in antioxidants and plant compounds that can have benefits for heart health and help promote blood sugar control.
Strawberries are wonderful eaten alone or they can be a nice surprise in salads and can boost the flavor and nutrition profile as a topping on your morning bowl of oatmeal or yogurt. You can also use the fruit in salsa, smoothies and more. Try your hand with these easy recipes.
Strawberry Salsa (makes 4 servings)
• 1-pint strawberries, hulled and finely diced
• 1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed, finely diced
• 1/2 cup red onion, diced fine
• 2/3 cup cilantro, finely-chopped
• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• pinch of salt and black pepper
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl until combined. Taste, adjust seasoning as needed. Serve with baked chips or use as a topping on grilled chicken or fish.
• 1 cup of cold water
• 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
• 2 pints fresh, sliced strawberries, green hull removed
• 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar (depending on the ripeness of the fruit and your taste preference)
• 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Place the water in a large saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let this mixture stand for 1-2 minutes, then stir over low heat until the gelatin is dissolved. Add the sliced strawberries, sugar and lemon juice to the gelatin mixture and bring to a boil for 8-10 minutes. Stir the mixture occasionally, while crushing berries slightly with the back of a wooden spoon.
Place jam into jars or container of your choice. Allow jam to cool before refrigerating. Once cooled, refrigerate for several hours until jam is set. Jam can be kept for 1 month in the refrigerator.
Enjoy this jam on whole wheat toast, swirled into yogurt, as a topping on your favorite cracker or with a traditional peanut butter and jam sandwich!
Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie (makes 2 servings)
• 1/2 cup 1% Milk
• 1/2 cup low fat 1% Cottage cheese
• 1-2 Tablespoons honey
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 2 cups frozen strawberries, unsweetened
Place the milk, cottage cheese, honey and vanilla extract in blender and blend until completely smooth and all lumps are gone, approximately 30 seconds. When all ingredients are smooth, add frozen strawberries a few at a time, blending in-between each addition until all are added and shake is smooth. Pour into two glasses and enjoy!
Strawberry Balsamic Chicken
• 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• 1 cup balsamic vinegar, divided
• salt and pepper
• 1-pint fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
• 4 oz. part skim mozzarella, shredded
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine chicken breasts and 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar in bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to 5 hours. When ready to cook, place chicken in a baking dish and pour the remaining vinegar marinade on top. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and a food thermometer inserted in the chicken registers 165 degrees.
While the chicken cooks, bring the remaining 1/2 cup vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until reduced by half. Remove and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the chopped strawberries, mozzarella, and basil to make a caprese topping. Top chicken with caprese mixture during the last five minutes of baking, until cheese melts. When the chicken is ready, transfer to serving dish and top with drizzle of the reduced balsamic vinegar.
For more fun, you can pick your own strawberries at a local farm. You can find a list of pick-your-own farms here: https://www.mass.gov/guides/pick-your-own-farms
Content submitted by Janyce Gately – MS, RD, LDN, CHWC