Summertime and the living is easy… especially if you have a nice, cold drink at hand. And if that drink contains the queen of berries, then you are in for a treat and ready to beat the heat. From lemonades to smoothies and cocktails, strawberries make every sip of your drink taste like true summer. Read along to find out all the benefits of consuming strawberries and how to prepare the best and most refreshing strawberry drinks ever!
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The Benefits of Strawberries
These red beauties are more than just a lovely smelling and delicious treat; they come with an array of health benefits that will make every sip of your summer cocktail all the more enjoyable.
The fact strawberries are heart-shaped is not the reason why they are good for your heart. It’s the red color that makes them real nutritional powerhouses. To be more precise, strawberries get their bright red color from the large amounts of anthocyanidins, water-soluble pigments that are said to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-carcinogenic power.
Not only are the flavonoids (like anthocyanidins) good for your heart, but they are also known to improve cognition and mental health.
However, the health benefits of strawberries do not end here. The fiber they contain will help you stay satiated for a longer period of time, and this implies you will eat less and, in the long run, lose weight.
This fiber content along with the natural fructose they contain makes strawberries a great aid in regulating blood sugar levels.
To sum up, the more strawberries (and fruits and veggies) you eat in general, the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease will go down (as will the numbers on the scale).
How to Pick Out and Store Strawberries for Your Summer Strawberry Drink
When buying strawberries regardless of whether you need them for culinary uses or just want to eat them as they are, there are 2 things you should pay attention to: the color and the aroma.
We all know the color of a perfect strawberry right? A bright red color is what you should be looking for. This, in turn, means that you should avoid buying berries that appear very dark or have a white or even slightly green color at the top. If dark and mushy, the strawberries will soil pretty quickly, but buying the slightly green ones is not that big of a deal. This only means they are picked under-ripe so you should just wait for several days for them to ripen and get the much desired sweet flavor.
The smell will tell if the strawberries are ripe enough to be used in your recipes (drinks included). If you are welcomed by a fragrant, sweet aroma that makes you devour a handful of them right that second, then you know you’ve picked the best strawberries and you should get them with no second thoughts.
The idea is to use the strawberries within a few days of purchasing them because they are infamous for going bad pretty quickly. Wash the strawberries just prior to implementing them in your recipe or drink and keep them unwashed in the fridge to prolong their freshness. (if washed there is a chance they grow mold)
How to Hull Strawberries
I am going to take a wild guess and say that one of your favorite ways of eating strawberries is using the stem as a handle. However, there are times (say when cooking with strawberries) when you will need to remove the greens and the bigger cap from the top of the berry. And when this is the case, instead of chopping off the entire top of the strawberry, you should hull it in order not to let any part of this incredibly tasty fruit go to waste. Hulling refers to removing the leaves and fibrous white calyx at the top of the berry.
Regardless of what refreshing beverage you are to make, almost always you will need to use hulled strawberries. And while the process of hulling them might seem as something that is as easy as ABC, if you want to keep as much of the fruit as possible then you should consider one of these hulling methods.
A strawberry huller.
Yes, they exist, and you can find them pretty much at every corner. From supermarkets to thrift shops and kitchen stores, as well as online. The price of around $3 is nothing compared to the invaluable time a huller will save you. This amazing tool is really simple to use. Just place the metal sides of the huller (it looks like small tongs) against the outer edges of the hull and insert the sides into the strawberry about one-quarter of an inch. Pinch one side of the huller and twist it, pull out of the strawberry and the calyx will slide out.
If you think buying a huller is unnecessary, then you can easily hull your strawberries with a straw. Make sure it is sturdy, and if it is one of those straws that have a bend to them, just use the opposite end (the one that is straight). Poke the end of a straw through the bottom tip of the strawberry and the core will pop out. The only thing left for you to do will be removing a few leaves. One important thing you should remember is the riper the strawberry, the less force you should implement.
A paring knife.
Get the smallest paring knife you have in your kitchen. Make sure you don’t cut very far into the strawberry and also the blade of your knife should be inserted at an angle toward the center. Lice in a circular motion around the calyx and voila, you have yourselves a delicious fruit to devour.
The Most Refreshing Strawberry Drinks Ever
The sweet, slightly tart taste of strawberries makes them a great choice for a refreshing summer drink. Anything from strawberry lemonade to mock cocktails (and real ones) can make way to your summer drinks menu. Enjoy a refreshing strawberry drink at the beach, in your backyard or in the convenience of your home (the AC turned on and all).
- Strawberry Lemonade
The most sought for summer drink must be the well-loved lemonade, but its strawberry cousin is slowly taking the lead. This sweet, tangy and sparkly drink will make you forget all about regular lemonade. Serve it in glasses filled with ice and decorated with whole strawberries and lemon slices (you don’t have to be a cocktail master to nail a perfect drink presentation). Just cut a small slit in each lemon slice and each strawberry at the tip and place them on the rim of each glass. Simple yet elegant.
- Frozen Strawberry Lemonade
You can use the above-mentioned recipe to turn your regular strawberry lemonade into a frozen strawberry lemonade. Just add 2 cups of ice just after you add the strawberries in the blender and you will have the perfect frozen lemonade. Add a 1/3 cup of basil for an even fresher outcome.
- Strawberry Kiwi Lemonade
If lemons and strawberries are not a refreshing enough combination, then lemons, strawberries and kiwi must be a spot on summery drink. One thing you should bear in mind though, is that when preparing this tasty drink there will be more pulp than usually. Just pour the liquid through a mesh strainer and you are good to go.
- Strawberry Sunrise Smoothie
If you are looking for a strawberry drink to start your day out right, look no further! This strawberry sunrise smoothie will help you rise and shine and feel divine! A nutrient bomb of vitamins (from the strawberries and orange mangos) and protein (from the almond milk) that is as delicious and creamy as ever!
- Skinny Strawberry Green Tea Mojitos
What happens when a refreshing drink has the power to help you lose calories? Easy, it becomes your go to drink for the summer. Not to mention these mojitos are delicious! So, strawberries, limes, mint, and green tea are definitely a combination that is surely going to put a smile on your face. The best part is: you don’t even have to add sugar, I guess calling this cocktail “a deconstructed smoothie” is not that far from the truth :).
- Frozen Virgin Strawberry Coconut Daquiri
Served in a classy martini glass, this vitamin-packed, virgin strawberry coconut daiquiri is going to be a hit this summer. Only a sip and you will be taken somewhere warm and tropical.
- Frozen Strawberry Margaritas
Ok, enough with the mock and skinny cocktails. These little, frozen strawberry margaritas call for 2 ounces of tequila per glass. Perfect for a bridal shower or a backyard party with the friends. Do note that the ingredients in this recipe are given per cocktail, so you should multiply according to the yields you want to get.
Sweet, sparkly, and creamy, I am sure your new summer favorite is among these tasty beverages. And one last thing, I started out this post with a song lyric, and I sure plan to finish it that way. See you down to strawberry fields forever. 🙂