The glorious British strawberry season is upon us.
If, like me, you grow your own strawberries you’ll be starting to enjoy harvesting these lovely summer fruits. I grow seven different varieties, most of them in hanging baskets, to maximise growing space in my garden for other fruit and vegetables (growing them this way also helps keep slugs at bay).
If you choose to buy some of these juicy seasonal fruits, you should always buy organic.
Organic may cost a little more, but the only reason non-organic foods tend to be less expensive is that their true economic cost, in terms of damage to the environment and damage to our health, ends up being picked up by taxpayers rather than the food producers and pesticide manufacturers.
Strawberries regularly top the list of foods that return the highest levels of pesticide residues when tested by the Health & Safety Executive’s Pesticide Residues Committee. Chemical including Fenhexamid, Iprodione, Pyrimethanil, Bupirimate and Cyprodinil show up consistently in these test results.
Buying organic strawberries is a simple way to remove the risk associated with pesticide contamination. In addition, research suggests that organic produce contains more antioxidants than non-organic, helping help reduce the risk of some medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease and several cancers.
Then of course, there is the devastating impact these chemicals have on bees and other pollinators.
Intensive, agrochemical-based farming is simply not compatible with a healthy bee population, nor with a healthy human population.
Buying organic also, of course, means you are choosing to support those who produce our food in a sustainable way.
If we humans are to have a long-term future post-Coronavirus, then it has to be one based firmly around the principles of sustainability, including sustainable food production.
This is a quick, simple but delicious sweet treat. I had originally intended to roast the strawberries in pomegranate molasses, but when I opened my cupboard I discovered we had none, so I switched to balsamic, which adds flavour as well as a lovely, sharp sweetness.
You can serve these roasted strawberries just as they are, with a scoop of ice cream or with yoghurt. Here I’ve served them on some vegan coconut yoghurt.
balsamic roasted strawberries
500 g organic strawberries, hulled and halved
60 g coconut sugar
60 ml balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4).
2. Place the strawberries in a bowl. Sprinkle over the coconut sugar and drizzle the balsamic over the top. Gently toss to combine. Leave to macerate for 15 minutes then tip the strawberries and the liquid from the bowl onto a lightly greased baking tray.
3. Roast the strawberries in the pre-hated oven for 10 minutes. Leave to cool, or serve warm. Drizzle with the sweet roasting juices.