Strawberries – The Ultimate Canada Day Treat but…

Sometimes it’s hard to resist cliches – red foods on Canada Day is one of those times for me apparently…as I tried to think of what to post for this Long Weekend I could not help but be drawn to strawberries – big plump juicy strawberries that happen to be in season right now as we speak.  The tricky thing with this delicious fruit is that this year it holds the dubious honour of topping the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) list of dirty dozen – those fruits and vegetables to be avoided unless purchased organic due to pesticide contamination.  You can read the full article by clicking here.

 Strawberries for sale at Wychwood Barns Farmer’s Market

Strawberries for sale at Wychwood Barns Farmer’s Market

The good news is that there are ways to work around this – the first and most obvious is to only buy organic strawberries BUT there is another solution that is less used and that is to hang out at Farmer’s Markets and speak to the Farmer.  The picture above was taken by me a couple of weeks ago at the Wychwood Barns Farmers market – I initially walked right past this stand as there was no organic sign on the berries.  A little while later, chatting with another vendor they suggested I speak to the “strawberry guy” as they had heard his crop wasn’t sprayed….curious I went back and learned this:  In certain cases, you will find farms where they avoid spraying their strawberry crops for as long as they can using alternate methods of pest control.  This often can carry them into the growing season (depending on the year) hence allowing them to bring berries to market that have not been sprayed – while there are still issues around crop rotation, soil integrity (pesticide residues can be taken up by plants) there is still a line to be walked…the only good way I have found to walk that line is to have a conversation with the person who did the tilling, the planting and the growing…the scruffy somewhat bleary eyed dude doing the best he can to make a living.  And sometimes, we learn something new and we can find a way to support the guys genuinely doing the good work – this was one of those days.  So.  I would like to leave you with this:

Seek out and speak to the people growing your food – it will always be a learning experience and you may gain access to foods you might otherwise have walked by.
A strawberry storage hack: To avoid your berries going mouldy – as soon as you get them home, wash them in a solution of 10 parts water to 1 part apple cider vinegar – this will kill mould spores and enable you to avoid the sad experience of pulling out furry berries two days after you buy them.
A recipe….after all, It is Canada Day!  The only challenge is that I don’t have a photo of said dessert to share with you…consider this an opportunity to take creative license with the finished me it will taste delicious!

The recipe is Strawberries & Cream Paleo Style

Step 1:  Macerate your strawberries – a fancy (and ominous) way of saying: hull, halve and let your berries sit in a bowl with 1-2 tbsp of lemon juice.  If they are in season they are sweet enough you should not need to add sugar. Just let them sit long enough to soften a bit and release their juices.

Step 2:  Make your cream:  Take a can of coconut milk (Full Fat, Native Forest if you can find it) and refrigerate it overnight.  15 minutes before you are making your cream put the can, your beaters and your bowl in the freezer.  Remove all equipment and coconut milk from the freezer – empty can into the bowl, add a teaspoon of vanilla (optional) snap beaters into electric mixer and beat away till you have a smooth cream.  If you can do this the day or the night before – refrigerate the cream – it will harden into a luscious and delicious mixture….

Step 3:  Divide berries between individual serving bowls, top generously with your coconut cream….garnish with toasted unsweetened coconut and enjoy!!

Happy Canada Day!!!

Nathalie Niddam

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