What if we told you that you had been eating your strawberries wrong for your entire life? Nope, we’re not kidding you; you’ve likely been throwing away one of the most nutritious and delicious parts of the fruit—the top!
That’s right, while you’ve been hacking away at those strawberry leaves, thinking you were tossing something akin to a peel, you were actually depriving yourself of this superfruit’s natural powers!
Benefits of eating strawberry leaves
Most people out there are unaware that using strawberry leaves as an ingredient in your cooking not only cuts down on food waste, it also comes with some pretty spectacular health benefits.
As it turns out, these often discarded stems carry properties like tannins and amino acids, which have been proven to improve digestion and balance acids, particularly when stomach upset is at its worst.
Additionally, strawberry leaves are chock-full of something called ‘caffeic acid’, a natural compound that may alleviate pain and swell in arthritis patients.
We know, we know; we were kicking ourselves too when we learned about these leaves’ amazing benefits. We can’t believe we’ve been throwing them out all this time!
Maria Eklind via FlickrNow that you have surely been converted over to the ‘green, leafy’ side, we’ve got a couple of recipes that will help you make the most of your strawberry tops…
Strawberry Leaf Tea
If you do a web search of ‘strawberry tea’, you’ll be met with plenty of mass-produced teas, but why spend money on these when you can easily make your own?
To do so, simply grab a handful of fresh or dry strawberry leaves and drop into a teapot. Once they are inside, pour a cup of boiling water on top and let steep for about 5 minutes.
You can either drink this tea as is or add a bit of cream and sugar for added flavor. Yum!
Strawberry Leaf Smoothie
For those of you who want to experience the benefit of strawberries, full-force, then it’s time for you to consume the WHOLE thing, leaf included.
Now, don’t worry, we aren’t going to suggest that you attempt to nosh on one of these berries, top and all, but we will say that throwing an intact strawberry into your morning smoothie is just as good.
Just pop a few in your blender (unfrozen is the way to go, here!) along with your other favorite smoothie fixings. You won’t necessarily taste a difference, but your bod will most certainly reap the benefits!
Strawberry Leaf Seasoning
Believe it or not, the leaves of a strawberry actually have quite a light, mellow flavor, which can add a bit of natural sweetness to any food.
Drop dried or fresh stems and leaves into your favorite vinegar for a flavorful infusion, or sprinkle them as is a cut of meat for a unique rub. Get creative with this one—the possibilities are endless!
Be sure to try out some of these yummy recipes for yourself this summer. You’ll wonder why strawberry tops ever got a bad rap in the first place!
What do you think of these recipes? Have you ever tried any of them before? How do you like to use your strawberry tops?