Nothing says I love you more than a super healthy Raw Stawberry Mousse. With the month of love and romance upon us there’s no better time to treat yourself and your loved ones to this healthy and nutritious fruit.
Strawberries come with important health benefits given the high and diverse phytonutrient and vitamin content, but when grown organically the rich antioxidant capacity is proven to be almost 9% higher.
A new study conducted by Swedish researchers at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp and Lund University showed organic strawberries have some nutritional advantages over their non-organic counterparts.
More anti-oxidants, Vit C, phytonutrients, manganese, fibre and more…
Since the South African government began to certify food as ‘organic’ many consumers are on the look out for them now. But why are organic foods a better choice? Here are a few benefits of organic strawberries:
Researchers compared the nutrient and antioxidant content of organic strawberries raised in California over a 2 year period and found that organic strawberries not only had more antioxidant power, especially more than 10% higher Vitamin C vs conventional ones.
- Strawberry fruit is termed an aggregate accessory fruit as the flesh is produced from the receptacle that contains the ovaries rather than the ovaries themselves. Each seed on the outside of the fruit is in fact an ovary, with a seed inside. So when you buy organic strawberries, you lower your risk of exposure to pesticides, which can build up in the body over time and may increase the risk of cancer and other diseases.
- Organic strawberries contain a much higher level of phytonutrients which include anthocyanins, ellagitannins, flavonols, terpenoids and phenolic acids.
- Organic strawberries are also rich in manganese and dietary fiber, has very good amounts of folate, iodine and potassium and appreciable levels of magnesium and vitamin K.
- Extracts from organically grown strawberries inhibit cell proliferation more effectively than extracts from the conventionally grown ones for their ability to inhibit the proliferation of human colon and breast cancer cells.
- The strawberry extracts decreased cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner between 0.025 to 0.5 percent dry weight of extract to volume of cell culture. At the highest concentration, the organic extracts inhibited proliferation of colon cancer (HT29) cells by 60% and breast cancer (MCF-7) cells by 53.1%; the corresponding values for conventional strawberry extracts were 49.7% and 37.9% respectively. The differences between conventional and organic were statistically highly significant.
- Organic strawberries also have more antioxidants and a higher ratio of ascorbate to dehydroascorbate.
Grow your own with ease
Paying a few extra rands for proper nutrition which benefits both your body and the earth is simply the eco-logical thing to do and a win-win all round. Or why not start your own vegetable garden in your back yard? Like Natalie Rowles from Kwazulu Natal, who started her own strawberry patch.
Natalie says her 19 strawberry plants she received as a gift a year ago has turned into two fully fledged long strawberry beds, making new baby plants every day.
“My friend who also grows strawberries only keeps 400 plants as starter plants annually in her two shelters for sale as plants and crops of strawberries. When a plant reaches 3 years – she chucks it away, but this time she gave me 19 plants for the second time in two years. I started growing them inside my two beds in the shelter just with cut green grass, earthworms and I water them regularly when I am at home.”
Double the size and sweetness
After comparing her plants to her friends’, Natalie says she noticed that the size of her strawberry leaves were almost double and were deliciously sweeter too.
“She uses bought compost and fertilizers and waters them twice a day, where mine is fully organic and gets watered now and then. I am looking into the tea leaves side of the strawberry plants, because the abundance of leaves are as healthy as the strawberry fruit,” she said.
One of the main strawberry leaf tea benefits is that it contains a high amount of calcium. However, women who are pregnant, or breastfeeding should speak to their doctors before consuming this beverage.
Delicious strawberry leaf tea
“I’ve tried drinking the fresh and young leaves by placing them in a pot with a teabag inside, with boiling water and a spoonful of pure honey and it was delicious! I had no after effects from it,” Natalie added.
Strawberries together with peaches, nectarines, apples, spinach, celery, pears, sweet bell peppers, cherries, potatoes, lettuce, and imported grapes are listed as the ‘dirty dozen’ because they often require more pesticides to fight off bugs compared to hardier produce, such as asparagus and broccoli and therefore best advised to eat organically.
The hazards to human health of consuming products contaminated by harmful pesticides include increased risks of cancer and reproductive problems and neurological damage, while organically grown produce on the other hand is chemical free, has much higher vitamin content and is usually more flavoursome.
While even organic food has its own share of issues, it’s a major step in the right direction toward optimal health and brings back the emphasis on quality. The big picture really is about aiding a dying planet. Just as the food industry has the choice to no put unhealthy food on the market, you have the choice to not put it on your plate.
Here is a cool refreshing recipe for raw strawberry mousse
- 200g soaked raw almonds, drained
- 500g of strawberries
- 1 cup of pomegranate juice (see note)
- 1/2 cup of cocoa butter
- 1/4 cup agave syrup (or to taste)
- Grate or chop the cocoa butter into small pieces. The smaller it is the faster it will melt. Place the cocoa butter in a heat proof bowl. Leave bowl somewhere warm to allow the cocoa butter to slowly melt. I put mine in the sun on the side table.
- Place almonds in the blender or food processor and blend on highest speed till the almonds are as smooth as possible. If they are not blending well, add a little water to help them along.
- Separate out as much of the remaining gritty almond meal as possible by pushing the almond mix through a strainer of some sort. I pushed mine through a regular mesh strainer, then through a fine tea strainer. (Don’t throw out the almond grit! It makes a great face scrub.)
- Place the almond milk in the blender, along with the strawberries, melted cocoa butter, agave and pomegranate juice. Blend at highest speed till combined and smooth.
- Taste the mousse and if not sweet enough, add agave till you reach the desired sweetness. The strawberries I had were very sweet and the pomegranate not tart so I did not require any more than 1/4 cup.
- Pour into serving bowls and chill in the fridge for several hours to set.