Basil Balsamic Strawberries
It’s SPRING! Finally! I don’t know why those last few weeks of winter always feel like they may never go away. Even though this winter wasn’t all that bad. I’m ready for warmer temperatures, more time outside and (thank God) FRESH produce! My aunt says it every Spring, if she has to eat another pear or apple she’ll die lol. Thankfully, Spring brings us one of the more popular berries first - strawberries! And they are the star of the show in this week’s dish!
Strawberries ( like most berries) are little nutritional powerhouses! Loaded with antioxidants to help remove junk from the body. And Vitamin C to boost immunity (which includes helping allergies!), they’re also a good source or fiber and can reduce inflammation overall! We’ve already gone through a pound of them this week and it’s only Wednesday!
Then we add in that fresh basil which is also full of antioxidants - so much so that it’s believed to help fight cancer! (God, I love plants). It also has anti-microbe (germs) properties and helps your body deal with stress - which is one of the top causes of disease in the U.S. today. Plus it smells pretty!
Finally, we drizzle everything with a homemade balsamic reduction. When picking out balsamic vinegar, you want to look for the PGI or DOP symbol. This is the European Union’s way of making sure some of their best exports (Italian food!) is quality controlled! PGI stands for Protected Geographical Indication, and DOP is for Denominazione di Origine Protetta (Protected Designation of Origin) - because REAL balsamic vinegar can only be made in two places in Italy! Modena or Reggio Emiglia are the only places that use the proper ingredients and process to officially call their product Balsamic Vinegar of Modena or of Reggio Emiglia. And since we’re using it as one of only four ingredients in this whole dish - we want to make sure we’ve got the good stuff!
Making sure you have quality ingredients is always worth it - and believe it or not - balsamic is loaded with health benefits too! It’s also full of antioxidants (from the grapes) and can actually reduce blood sugar. That’s because it also helps with digestion, contributing to healthy weight loss, lower cholesterol and reducing hypertension. Anyone else want to drink the stuff yet?
Watch the video and grab the recipe below and try this easy, healthy, no bake dessert this weekend!
Basil Balsamic Strawberries
1 lb. fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 Tbs. fresh basil, chopped
1 Tbs. sugar
1 C. Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI
Pour balsamic into a small sauce pan. Bring just to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes. Vinegar should be reduced to about 1/4 C. look thick and syrupy and coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Transfer to a glass container and allow to cool.
*NOTE: If the vinegar gets TOO thick, it may become hard as it cools, simply reheat with a bit of water to loosen it again.
While vinegar is cooking, toss strawberries with sugar. Mix well and set aside to macerate.
When ready to serve, toss basil with strawberries, spoon into bowl, or on top of cake or ice cream, and drizzle with balsamic reduction!