The wonder of strawberries

What an amazing fruit - strawberries - delicious, beautiful to look at, and full of anti-oxidants to help prevent cancer and aging. What's there not to like? But beware - they are also one of the most pesticide sprayed crops. I love them, but I do not like consuming pesticides - I figure if those chemicals kill insects then they are unlikely to be good for me. It's not always easy to get organic - they tend to cost more - and are even harder to get out of season. I am lucky to live in the Southwest of England, where we have such an abundance of ethical growers. So I decided the solution was to go strawberry picking at an 'unsprayed' pick your own and stock up my freezer. 

I washed and prepared them, lined them up on trays and put in freezer, then decanted into bags. That way they don't stick together so you can use one at a time if desired. Yey - exciting! Now I have strawberries for smoothies and breakfasts for the winter (well, that may be being a bit optimistic!) I also made two delicious recipes while I was playing with my strawberries:

Strawberry Sauce

Gently heat a bunch in a pan with a drop of water, and small sprinkle of coconut sugar, (actually I think it was probably unnecessary to add any extra sweetener). Simmer for a few minutes. Meanwhile soak half cup of cashew nuts. Take strawbs off heat and leave to cool for about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse nuts. Put strawbs, nuts, some vanilla essence / powder in blender and whizz up. That's it. You can use either for breakfast on your muesli / porridge, or as a topping for a dessert e.g on fruit, or with yoghurt and fresh fruit, or with melted 85% dark chocolate - mm - sounds good eh? Or just eat on its own. Experiment with adding other fruit to the sauce too. Next time I am going to make it raw and see how that is.

Crumble with gluten-free topping

I love this alternative crumble topping and can also be used as a base for sweet flans / cheescakes. Put strawberries, half ripe banana, and any other fruit you fancy adding in baking dish. I added half a nectarine to this one. For the topping - equal amounts of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, dates (about half a cup each), throw some dessicated coconut in too (about quarter cup). Put all above in high speed blender and wizz until  a coarse powder. Melt half cup coconut oil and mix in with hands - until oil is distributed around. Put on top of fruit filling and press down a bit. Bake at 160 degrees until done - check at 20 mins.



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