Cooking · Gardening · Health

Strawberries Are Good For Your Butt

 Last night after my run I went straight to the garden.  I hadn’t been out there since before I left town!  The garden was totally soggy since it had been raining all weekend and all the vegetables were muddy. 

I spent almost an hour picking strawberries.  Check out this haul:

I haven’t weighed it yet but the entire colander is packed with berries.  And last Thursday Benzo and FIL picked about half that many, which we have been enjoying all weekend.

We all know that strawberries are good for your health.  They are a delicious fruit that is packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber.  Raw strawberries are also fat-free and low in calories. 

So eating strawberries is good for your health.  But picking strawberries is good for your butt!  An hour of picking strawberries is like doing an hour of squats and lunges.  As I worked around the strawberry patch I would squat, pick berries, deposit them in the colander and lunge to the next section.  I repeated that over and over for almost an hour.  When I woke up this morning my hamstrings, quads and glutes were really sore.  What a great workout!

If you don’t have a strawberry patch in your backyard you can still reap these benefits by visiting a pick-your-own berry farm.  Find one in your area by searching on pickyourown.org or localharvest.org.  Not only will you be getting a great workout for your rear end, but you’ll also be supporting a local farmer and walking away with a bunch of delicious berries.  It’s a win-win for everyone!  I recommend calling ahead to get more information on dates and times.

I may be posting a lot of random strawberry recipes over the next couple of weeks as I figure out what to do with all of these berries.  I definitely plan to freeze a lot and I’m already looking at strawberry jam recipes for canning.  Most recipes I’ve found contain a ton of sugar so if anyone has a sugar-free jam or preserve recipe please e-mail it to me.

For the first of the strawberry recipes, I whipped up this strawberry-quinoa salad on Saturday night for dinner.  I was inspired by the three bean quinoa salad I made a few weeks ago.

Strawberry Quinoa Salad
Serves 4

1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cup water
Pinch salt
2 cups chopped strawberries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette
Spinach, washed and torn

Rinse quinoa under cool water and drain.  In a medium pot bring water to a boil.  Add rinsed quinoa and salt and stir.  Reduce heat and cover.  Simmer 15 minutes until water is absorbed.  Set aside to cool.

While quinoa is cooking, toast walnuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant.  Set aside to cool.  Chop strawberries.

In a large bowl combine quinoa, walnuts and strawberries.  Add vinaigrette and stir to combine.  Serve over a bed of spinach.

I thought this turned out very good!  The nutty flavor of the quinoa compliments the sweetness of the fruit nicely.  And strawberries and balsamic are always great together.  I think the quinoa would actually make a nice vehicle for a big mixed fruit salad.  I could see adding other berries, kiwi, pineapple or melon to the mix.  Since quinoa is packed with protein, it makes the fruit salad a lot more filling and allows it to stand on its own as a meal.

Benzo also really liked this dish and said he would eat it again.  I think the filling would be good in a wrap or a pita as well.  I also think you could take the leftover salad and heat it up with some milk the next morning for a yummy hot breakfast cereal.

So if you had a boatload of strawberries, what would you do with them?  Send me your ideas!

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