Each year, my family and I pick as many strawberries as my freezers can hold. We enjoy picking the strawberries, as those are ready here in early March, and the sweltering heat hasn’t yet descended upon us. Blueberries? Well, we don’t enjoy picking them at all. The heat is unbearable, and the fire ants and mosquitoes have proliferated enough to exceed the population of China. I always say it’s unfair that the hardest thing to pick is in season in the hottest month. It takes FOREVER to pick gallons of blueberries. However, the opposite is true of strawberries. Strawberry picking is what my husband likens to an insurance commercial. You know how insurance commercials show the perfect idyll: the smiling, tanned and fit grandfather rowing his cooperative, cherub-faced grandson across the serene lake with golden, dappled sunlight shining on them as they laugh and share beautiful moments together? Well, that’s close to how we feel about strawberry picking. We drive to an organic strawberry farm on a rural island. On the road to the farm, we pass verdant, grassy fields and admire the grazing horses and neat-as-a-pin barn and well-kept fences. We park our car by the pond and gather our buckets and stroll out to the strawberry patch, admiring the pond and throwing a stick for Buck, the friendly, speckled farm dog. We fan out among the rows of berries and pick bucket after bucket, pausing to take pictures and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. We chat with Mary, who runs the stand where you pay, asking how busy they’ve been and when the blueberries will be in. Before leaving, the kids have a go on the tire swing by the pond, and we once again vow we’re going to move to the country someday. We come home with dirty, sandy feet, legs, and hands, but reveling in knowing that, in the next few days, we’ll have fresh berries to eat out of hand, strawberry pie, strawberry ice cream, and for months to come we’ll have bright red beauties to pull out of the freezer.
The strawberries in the freezer rarely last until they’re in season again. While we are well-stocked, though, one of the most frequent ways of using them is in smoothies. We love smoothies for nutrition-packed breakfasts. Smoothies are wonderful for incorporating green veggies and healthy fats into your diet. We try to stay away from added sugar, using only fruit or dates, usually, to sweeten smoothies. This smoothie is packed with goodness. I call it “C”eize the day because you get a healthy dose of Vitamin C in this smoothie. One cup of strawberries has 85mg of Vitamin C, which is more than in an orange. Spinach is also high in Vitamin C. Now on to the Camu Camu. I know – sounds like a bird you’d see in the rainforest. It IS something you’d see in the rainforest, but it’s a shrub that grows Camu Camu berries, which look similar to cherries. Camu Camu berries contain more vitamin C than any other food. Just one teaspoon contains 1080% of your recommended daily value of Vitamin C. Here’s why you need Vitamin C:
- Supports immune health
- Promotes cellular health
- Aids in wound healing
- Protects against damage from toxic chemicals and free radicals
- Supports healthy skin and bones
- Protects against heart disease
- Protects against cancer
Vitamin C can’t be stored in the body, which means you need to include Vitamin C rich foods in your diet every day. My family absolutely love this smoothie, and I’m happy we’re going to be able to “C”eize the day! It’s as delicious as it is nutritious. I hope this helps you “C”eize your day, too!: )
- 1 cup coconut milk, almond milk, or milk of choice
- ¾ cup water
- 5 dates, pitted
- 1 ½ cups spinach
- ½ an avocado
- 1 heaping cup frozen organic strawberries*
- ½ cup frozen raspberries
- ½ tsp. Camu Camu powder
- Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Pour milk and water into blender. Add pitted dates. If your dates are not soft, you may want to let them soak in the liquid for a few minutes. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. If sweetness is not to your liking, you may add another pitted date. Top with chopped fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried raspberries or strawberries.
- *Organic strawberries are best as strawberries are one of the most heavily sprayed fruits.