26 Jun

I might have mentioned in the past that a few years ago, my husband and I abandoned the city lights for the green pastures and permanent smell of cow dung of country living and I honestly believe it’s one of the best decisions we have made. We’re not completely out in the sticks, not living in some ramshackle farmhouse and completely isolated from society (although sometimes I wish we were).

We live in a small town, population 2000. We have one little supermarket (who lack a lot of  basic stock that was a given back in the city, but impressively had some beautiful marscarpone cheese in the chiller, so they can’t be too bad). The region I live in is known as for its gourmet food, it’s cheeses and its wines and it’s beautiful fresh produce.

The view outside my back window is of rolling green hills and bushland. The skies are so blue, it hurts my eyes. Not the manky, grey skies of the city I had become used to. Just down the road is farmer’s market, where the locals contribute their fresh fruits, vegetables, freshly baked artisan breads, wines, creamy cheeses, pickles, relishes and preserves. It’s any gourmand’s paradise and the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

My work keeps me late most nights, so my weekends are spent recovering from the past week and preparing for the one ahead.

So deciding to head off to the market with my husband was the perfect way to wind down from the past week and fondling fresh vegetables, inhaling beautiful fresh fruits and marveling at the freshness of nature’s gifts and talents of local bread and cheesemakers was just the right way to start the weekend.

Particularly captivating were the strawberries we picked up from the local organic berry farm. They were plump, sweet still had that tantalising tang that prickles your tongue. We were like naughty little children, eagerly getting the berries to the car where, had espresso not lured us away, would have happily buried our faces in the strawberries and just feasted.

We did enjoy the strawberries though, later at home, with just a little whipped cream (no, nothing kinky)- they were that perfect that it felt like desecration to do anything else with them.

If you ever get the chance to visit a farmer’s market, even if you have to make a day trip out of it (a good drive, some beautiful scenery, a good lunch and glass of wine as well as coming home with a car full of beautiful, fresh produce- what’s not to like!), I really do encourage it. It’s great to be able to talk to the person who grew the vegetables you’re about to eat, or lovingly crafted the bread and cheese you will later be enjoying.

Here’s a few facts about strawberries:

  • Strawberries are well known for their high nutritional value and medicinal properties.
  • Just eight strawberries daily provides more than 20% of the daily recommended folate intake for expectant mothers, Folate is also important for protein metabolism and formation of red blood cells.
  • They are also rich in Vitamin C and silicon making them very useful for aterial and all connective tissue repair.  It is interesting to note that strawberries help strenghen the teeth and gums and help remove tartar.  Source
  • Strawberries should be eaten as soon as possible. Do not wash until you are ready to consume them. If you must store strawberries, place them on a paper towel in a tightly-covered container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. They may also be frozen whole or in pieces. To freeze, wash and hull, sprinkle with 1/3 cup sugar, and toss gently with your hands. Place in freezer containers or zip-top bags. Use within 1 year. Source
  • Strawberries are one of the few sources, along with grapes and cherries, of ellagic acid, a compound which has been shown to prevent carcinogens from turning healthy cells into cancerous ones. Source
  • Apart from the obvious health benefits, a recent study by Dr. Gene Spiller, Nutrition and Health Research Center, has shown that eating one serving (about 8-10 strawberries) a day can significantly decrease blood pressure, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. Other studies showed additional benefits: Strawberries are found to reduce risk of cancer, enhance memory function and rheumatoid arthritis. Source

Some recipes featuring strawberries on my To-Try list:

Strawberry Croissants

Strawberry Tiramisu

Yoghurt, Rosewater & Strawberry Cheesecake

Strawberry Martinis

Strawberry and Lemon Pancakes
Watermelon, Peach & Strawberry Granita

Strawberry Amaretti Tarts

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Posted by on June 26, 2010 in Ingredients 101, Inspiration


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