Vail Today: Summer means it’s salad and strawberry season (video) | VailDaily.com

Vail Today: Summer means it’s salad and strawberry season (video)

By Tracy Miller | Colorful Cooking

Big, fat, juicy strawberries are decorating the grocery store aisles right now and are worth the purchase. Strawberries are a low calorie, healthy snack and can be a great addition to many meals like chicken sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, cereal, yogurt and they are a sweet, healthy dessert.

Strawberries served as dessert actually help to reduce your blood sugar. "Improved regulation of blood sugar is a health benefit that appears more and more likely based on the findings from recent studies on strawberry consumption," according to World's Healthiest Foods. "Especially following consumption of a meal, researchers are finding better regulation of insulin and blood sugar levels in connection with strawberry intake."

Many people are searching for foods that are anti-inflammatory and strawberries hit the mark. They contain tons of vitamin C, manganese, flavonoids, phenolic acids, tannins and stilbenes which all work as anti-inflammatory and antioxidants. All those little seeds serve as a good source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid as well.

Picking Berries

If possible, purchase organic strawberries. This berry is the most popular one in the world and mass produced all over the world, so they typically can be found with pesticide residue. They are also delicate so purchase strawberries that are not bruised or soft. Look for medium sized berries that are bright red and firm and smell them to make sure they have that fresh, summertime smell. Wash the berries right before eating them and store them in the refrigerator.

Adding fresh berries to salads is a tasty way to up your nutrient count and this salad dressing will pair with many ingredients and will last in the refrigerator for one week. When you're enjoying all the fresh lettuces this summer, be sure to prep them properly for the best possible salad ever. When I am eating mixed greens, super greens and the like in my salads, I make sure to chop up my lettuce. As Tricia Swenson said to me while we were filming, "They say you're not supposed to use a knife when eating a salad, so the smaller pieces the better." I 100-percent agree, Tricia, make it easy to eat salad and you will!

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First, rinse and dry your greens. The drying part is time consuming but worth it as you don't want a wet salad at the end of the day. Once the greens are dry, chop them with a sharp knife to make small pieces. Then, toss the greens with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. This is called dressing your greens and will make the salad absolutely delicious. Measure about 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoons both salt and pepper with 4 cups chopped greens. Once you've done that, assemble your salad and enjoy.

Strawberry Salad Dressing
1 cup strawberries (rinsed and stems removed)
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh mint (optional)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a food processor, blend all ingredients. This dressing will be a little chunky so blend to desired consistency. If you would like to thin it out a bit, add a little more vinegar.

Tracy Miller is a private chef and caterer. Her food mission is to add fruits and vegetables to all meals. You can contact Tracy at tracy@colorfulcooking.com or log onto ColorfulCooking.com

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