Over the last few years, we’ve all witnessed the rise of the ‘superfood’ and the vast array of nutritional benefits that they can bring to our diet. From Chia Seeds to Goji Berries or Spirulina, there are a wealth of recently discovered ingredients that can aid us in our desire to cultivate increasingly healthy and balanced lifestyles.
However, we at Fare Healthy wonder whether these newly available, often exotic and exciting ingredients have distracted us from some of our more homegrown crops. While we can undoubtedly agree that having a healthy and balanced diet is a goal for us all, the scarcity and expense of some of these superfoods means that sometimes it feels harder to be a part of the well-being movement than it should be. We believe living a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t be hard at all!
With this in mind, we are refocusing our attention on some of the bounties nature has granted us a little closer to home.
With summer well and truly in bloom (alright, we’re still working on that), what better fruit to epitomize the season than the English strawberry. It frustrates me that imported strawberries are sold all year round – the quality of a Spaniard in January is nothing on the sweet and juicy plumpness of our own homegrown variety right now. Aside from the fact that strawberries are from the Rose family, I love them because of their easy-going nature and incredible versatility.
Did you know you can grow a strawberry literally anywhere and they will still turn out to be one of the most delicious berries on the planet? Under brambles in fields in the countryside, tiny allotments in the suburbs, even window boxes in the city, a home-grown strawberry is a little piece of deliciousness that anyone can get their hands on. I have a friend who even successfully grew a batch in a dustbin lid.
And they’re good for you too! Strawberries are full of Vitamin C, the immunity boosting anti-oxidant – just one bowl contains your entire daily requirement. As well as fighting the big diseases like cancer, the ellagic acid (a naturally occurring phytochemical) found in strawberries helps keep your eyes healthy, your skin wrinkle-free (result!) and your heart ticking perfectly. They’re also full of fibre that gives us a not only a healthy digestion but also slows the body’s absorption of sugar. So we can enjoy their sweetness without worrying about the sugar content too much. Well played, strawberry. Well played.
Let us not forget the humble strawberry. It is not just a delicious fruit, a treat for children and adults alike, the quintessentially British icon, it is also very much a super food in it’s own right. Easy to grow, even easier to eat, the strawberry has a whole host of health benefits that cannot be ignored. Far from being just a raw ingredient, strawberries can also be used in anything from soups to salads. Why not try pickling them in balsamic vinegar and serve with goat’s cheese or feta and the summer’s finest garden peas? The possibilities really are endless. As another home-grown hero of ours, John Lennon once perfectly said, ‘Strawberry fields is anywhere you want to go.’