It is officially summer and my favourite time of year for food because we are getting into the heart of the local growing season in Ontario. There is nothing better than local produce, the taste is second to none, it supports local farmers and more of the nutrients are maintained because the produce didn’t spend weeks on a truck or in storage. As well, with the warmer weather our bodies respond well to the produce available at this time of year with light fresh salads and berries to keep us feeling cool compared to the hearty warmth of the root vegetables found in the fall and winter. Foodland Ontario has a great guide to let you know what is available when https://www.ontario.ca/foodland/page/availability-guide.
June and July is strawberry season, and to me they are like candy and I can’t get enough of them. If you have the freezer space I highly recommend freezing some. A great way to freeze berries is to wash and hull them and place them on a cookie sheet to individually freeze them then pop them in a storage container and you scoop out what you need without ending up with a giant frozen berry ball. One downside of strawberries is they are number 1 on EWG’s “dirty dozen” list of the most highly sprayed produce. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php. As result, organically grown strawberries are the only way to go.
One of my favourite desserts using strawberries is Strawberry Chia Pudding there are several different ways to make it one is:
2 ½ cups of Strawberries washed and sliced
3 TBS ground Chia seeds
¾ cups pure Maple Syrup (original recipe called for 1 ¼ cups but I find it too sweet)
¼ cup of coconut oil
Heat the oil long enough to melt it but do not overheat. Put all ingredients other than the coconut oil in a blender and blend. With the blender running on low, slowly pour in the coconut oil. Place the pudding in small serving dishes and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
The great thing about this recipe is you can use any berries you like, so when blueberry season comes in July and August you can change it up. Adjust the amount of maple syrup depending on the sweetness of the berry and try to reduce the amount over time.