Strawberry season is finally here, and I plan to eat, eat, eat until the season comes to an end. We arrived at the strawberry field for 9:00 this morning, to be there when they opened. We were joined by several other pickers waiting to be directed to their rows. We are so fortunate to have a strawberry u-pick that is no-spray less than 2km from our home. Strawberries are at the top of the dirty dozen list, so this is one fruit that we try to purchase without toxic sprays. Our local grower at Oakview Farms has shared with us that there are so few farms growing strawberries as he does because the process is more labour intensive and therefore more costly. I’m happy to pay a bit more and know that my strawberries are not covered in cancer-causing and hormone-disrupting chemicals.
We quickly picked our 12 boxes and were back home at 9:45. This little strawberry field will absolutely get picked out today and then they’ll close for a couple of days to wait for more berries to ripen before opening again. We’ll be back in the strawberry patch at least 2-3 more times before they’re all picked out for the season. We’ll pick more for the freezer, and more to enjoy fresh while they last.
I’ll wash and freeze most of these strawberries, but we’ll eat at least three boxes over the next couple of days. My first thought when I consider what I might make is always something sweet, since I have a sweet tooth. Today, however, is a hot sunny day and a salad came to mind. It’s the perfect day to enjoy a fresh salad in the backyard while the tide comes in.
I picked up a bag of spinach and some snow peas a few days ago from Longspell Point Farm, and they’re both lovely with strawberries. Some pecans, sunflower seeds and avocado will round it off. Soft goat cheese would make a great addition as well. Instead of a vinaigrette, I made a Creamy Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing for an extra dose of vitamin C and antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Spinach
- high in antioxidants, B Vitamins and magnesium that protects against inflammation and helps reduce systemic pain
- full of mood-boosting B-vitamins, including B2 which helps the body deal with stress.
- high in iron and bioavailable calcium
- contain antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E and K to reduce inflammation, as well as selenium, zinc, and folic acid, which are associated with reducing depression symptoms
- an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. High in phytonutrients specifically flavonoids, spinach has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
- contains magnesium – a mineral known for its relaxing properties. Magnesium can also decrease cortisol levels and increase sleep efficiency and sleep time.
Health Benefits of Strawberries
- excellent source of cancer-fighting antioxidants
- A serving of strawberries has more than 100% of the daily requirement of vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for adrenal function, as it is depleted in times of stress, and it helps to boost the immune system.
- Excellent source of potassium, which is important in managing blood pressure
- Polyphenols in strawberries have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
- Anthocyanins, quercetin and kaempferol, as well catechins and ellagic acid in strawberries all help to decrease cardiovascular risk by inhibiting LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Low on the glycemic index, so help to support blood sugar balance
Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing
- 4 cups spinach
- ½ cup snow peas
- 1 cup strawberries sliced
- ½ cup pecans
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- ½ avocado chopped
- ¼ cup pureed strawberries
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp poppyseeds
- Wash and pat dry spinach. Combine spinach, snow peas, strawberries, pecans, sunflower seeds and avocado in a large bowl.
- Puree strawberries with immersion blender, small food processor or mash by hand. Add remaining ingredients and blend together.
- Toss to coat salad or serve on the side.