Happy Fourth of July weekend! Yesterday we celebrated Independence Day, but I’m sure the celebration is continuing through the weekend for many people. What a great time for being outdoors, being with family and friends, enjoying delicious food, and celebrating our freedom and the wonderful country we live in!
Even our gardens are in the patriotic spirit, shown by the red, white, and blue pinwheels above! These pinwheels are scattered around the Creekside garden to keep some of the animals away by spinning in the warm breeze. Not only is this weather perfect for an outdoors weekend, but it’s also perfect for the plants. Both the Sullivan Memorial Garden and the Creekside Garden continue to grow and grow, so be sure to stop by the farm market at the Dexter Wellness Center on Wednesdays to check out all of our produce!
For me, it’s not summer without berries. Whether in a fruit salad or a yummy dessert, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are the perfect, refreshing addition to the table. In the Creekside Garden, we have lots of raspberry bushes, and in the Sullivan Memorial Garden, we have a large bed of strawberries. Our strawberries aren’t quite ready yet, but I can’t wait to see them starting to form and harvest them!
In addition to being delicious, berries are also quite nutritious. Specifically, strawberries are a good source of important antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese, fiber, and they are relatively low in sugar. One cup of strawberries contains roughly 149% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, 89% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A , and 29% of the recommended daily allowance of manganese. Manganese is an essential trace element, which means you only need it in small amounts, but it is necessary for normal functioning of your brain, nervous system, and many enzyme systems in the body. Vitamins A and C function as antioxidants in the body. Along with other antioxidants found in strawberries, such as quercetrin, falvonols, and gallic acid, vitamins A and C help to reduce and stabilize free radicals in the body. Free radicals can lead to inflammation, aging, and certain chronic diseases. Therefore, these antioxidants may help to slow the aging process, decrease inflammation, and decrease the risk of cancer, heart disease, and neurological disorders. Vitamin C is also involved in promoting collagen synthesis, which is the most abundant protein in the body and important for skin structure and elasticity. Lastly, vitamin A and vitamin C have been shown to improve skin hydration, and they lead to lower levels of wrinkles and discoloration and a reduced risk of skin cancer. This makes strawberries, as well as other berries, a great snack when you’re out in the sun!
While strawberries are ingredients in many common Fourth of July and summer desserts, here is a healthier take on a fruit pizza that you could even make for breakfast!
Granola Fruit Pizza
For the Crust:
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 3/4 cup oat flour
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil (or melted butter)
- 2/3 cup honey (or maple syrup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
For the Yogurt Filling:
- 1 – 1-1/3 cups thick plain Greek yogurt (or dairy free Greek yogurt)
- 1-2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Fruit Topping:
- 6 blackberries
- 1/3 cup raspberries
- 3/4 cup sliced strawberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Grease a 10-inch cake pan or line with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine oats, oat flour, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt together. Add the honey and coconut oil and mix until dough is combined and sticks together. Use your hands or a fork as needed.
- Spread the mixture into prepared pan and press down firmly with a spatula or the bottom of a glass cup.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely (place in the refrigerator or freezer to cool faster).
- Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, combine yogurt with honey and vanilla. Use an offset spatula to spread yogurt over cooled crust.
- Decorate with fresh berries. Enjoy immediately or place in the fridge to cool and set.
Adapted from: Life Made Sweeter Blog (https://lifemadesweeter.com/fruit-pizza/)
Growing your own strawberries is relatively simple and straightforward. Here’s a video with tips for growing strawberries, including selecting the best variety, planting, spacing, fertilizing, harvesting, and storing. Hopefully you can add strawberries from your own garden to your next summer dessert!
One last thing! If you want to help me tackle the weeds and help me with other tasks to care for the garden this summer, please sign up via the link below! We have two shifts per week on Mondays and Thursdays from 9am-11am. I would love to see you there!
Have a great day!