Who can resist the delicious, sweet taste of juicy strawberries, even though the pips or seeds do get stuck in your teeth! Nothing that a bit of dental floss won’t cure though.
Strawberries are renowned the world over for using in desserts, from creamy yogurts and mousses, to cheesecakes, gateaux and English trifle. But these type of desserts usually come with a bucket full of sugar, which of course, can be hugely detrimental to your health.
More and more chefs and home cooks are using strawberries in savory dishes, but particularly, this old favorite berry is used for juicing and smoothies, accompanied by other healthy fruits and vegetables.
Strawberries are one of the fruits where you actually get little wastage as pulp – if you have pulp, simply press it through a sieve into your glass to get maximum benefits.
We bet you didn’t know that the strawberry is related to sweet-scented roses and that because the seeds are on the outside of this plump and tasty ‘fruit’ they are actually determined as ‘runners’.
They can vary enormously in flavor depending where and under what conditions they are grown, but they all still have the wonderful heart-shape, making them a very obvious choice of fruit for romantic occasions (in fact many years ago they were considered an aphrodisiac and frequently served at weddings to help couples on their way)!
Strawberries from regions such as South America tend to be larger than their European counterparts, and many varieties are now hybrids, grafted together by crossbreeding, which in turn tends to bring us the most sweet and juicy examples to eat. Once considered a luxury, they are now commonplace throughout the globe.
Juicing strawberries couldn’t be easier as their soft texture makes the whole process simple to execute.
Their bright red color signifies the large amount of anthocyanidin contained in the fruit, a powerhouse of antioxidants that protect against the free radicals in the air, the cause of many illnesses and diseases.
It is believed that consuming strawberries will help protect you against ailments such as heart disease, certain types of cancer and inflammation.
Throughout history, strawberries have been used to treat digestive problems and even to whiten teeth and cure skin irritations, but more recently, they are certainly recommended in the treatment of regulating blood sugar (therefore good for diabetics) and also for providing Vitamin C, fiber, manganese and potassium in very healthy doses.
In fact, you can find an array of vitamins in strawberries – vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6 are omnipresent. They also contain zinc and folic acid, useful during pregnancy in particular.
However, just like any other fruit, over-consumption is not recommended and they can also cause allergic reactions similar to hay fever, so if you experience any form of itching, particularly in the eyes and nasal passages, they should be avoided, likewise any tingling or sore throats could also be a sign that you are reacting to them.
Choosing The Best Strawberries
Choosing the best strawberries is of paramount importance at the onset. Whilst there are other varieties of strawberries such as white and yellow, it is the juicy red ones you need, both for health and nutritional reasons, and for juicing.
Always pick your fruit carefully, they should be slightly firm, deep red and free of any mould.
Look for healthy little green leaves on the top of them, and never pick up the ones that still have an element of green or yellow parts on them – once picked, strawberries do not continue to ripen, so you are wasting your time in thinking this.
They will more than likely be acidic and not sweet, which will make you wince when trying to eat them!
Locally grown strawberries will always be better if consumed during the correct seasonality, but you can of course buy imports if you are desperate for a few for your juicing.
Juicing Your Strawberries
You can of course use strawberries that are just beginning to ‘turn’ (go slightly soft) but make sure there are no mouldy patches on the fruit.
Some people enjoy using berries from frozen, to keep the juice cold, and frozen berries are always readily available, often mixed with other berries such as blueberries and raspberries.
But the taste is certainly different – frozen berries seem to lack that wonderful aroma that the fresh berries carry and can actually smell somewhat ‘musty’ or slightly off.
If you choose frozen strawberries, look out for ‘picked and frozen immediately at source’ – these should be much more tasty as they will retain flavor.
When juicing, many people remove the stalk and leaves by ‘hulling’, but this is not necessary and very time-consuming.
If served as a dessert, by all means remove the tops, but in juicing you can use the entire fruit – in fact the leaves also carry certain health benefits – strawberry leaves can be added to recipes and in cooking, are safe to eat or make strawberry tea with!
However, only use the leaves if they are still vibrant green in color, not brown or shriveled. This is a sign that they may have been a long time in transit to your local market, or stored in the wrong temperate conditions.
5 Strawberry Juice Recipes To Get You Started
Here are some suggested combinations to make delicious, fresh juices.
Strawberry juice consumption is best in the morning to activate your digestive system, but you can drink it at any time of the day.
Mixed with leafy greens, such as kale, spinach or chard, you couldn’t wish for a better start to your day.
Lemons or limes will add a little acidity and are a great cleansing fruit to use. Always follow your manufacturers instructions to achieve best results from juicing your fruit.
We use coconut water in some of our recipes, but if you don’t like the taste, by all means substitute it for ordinary unflavored water.
RECIPE #1: 3 large carrots, 1 cup strawberries (about 8-10 depending on size), 2 apples (red ones will taste better, but do contain more sugar) 1inch ginger.
RECIPE #2: 1 cup of strawberries (about 8-10 strawberries depending on size), 2 celery sticks, 6 large kale leaves, 1 apple (green is preferable – less sugar)
RECIPE #3: 10 strawberries, 2 ripe pears, 1 small cucumber (or half a larger one), ½ inch ginger, juice of 1 lime (or half a lemon), 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
RECIPE #4: 6-8 strawberries, 2 kiwi fruit, ½ cup coconut water, juice of 1 lime (for additional sweetness if required, use half tablespoon of raw honey or agave nectar)
RECIPE #5: 6-8 strawberries, 1 small orange (peeled), ½ cup of water, 2 rings fresh pineapple (remove tough outer layer) ½ tsp nutmeg (for extra spice)
When using leafy greens in your juices, don’t be put off by the resultant color shade as the juice will become slightly grey or ‘sludgy’ as many children say.
Just take a sniff of the end product, which will still smell and taste of the rich red fruit.
Enjoy your strawberry juices.
Strawberries have somewhat been ‘put in the shade’ by blueberries over the past few years, but they should be heralded as one of the healthiest fruits to eat or drink, so make friends with this delicious fruit and its incredible health-giving properties.