Saturday, July 26, 2014

Don't throw out the tops! {Strawberry Tea}

The hubster and I both love strawberries. I prefer to eat mine plain and he likes them dipped in a bit of sugar or whipped cream, but we both agree they are super tasty. They are actually one of the few fruits we both really enjoy eating.

Because of this, when we stumbled upon a good deal, we take advantage of it. We recently bought just over a pound of strawberries for 2€ - score! We didn't feel like eating a pound of strawberries in one day though, so I did what I usually do: I washed them, cut off the tops and any bruised parts, and put them out to dry. I always let my strawberries dry completely before storing them uncovered in the fridge. They usually stay nice for about four or five days - leaving us plenty of time to devour them!


After laying them out to dry {my inner OCD requires me to stand them all up on end} I looked at my pile of "trash". Since adopting a paleo lifestyle, I try very hard to reduce my food waste. I always throw any veggie scraps into the freezer for my bone broths {I have a special bag just for collecting bones and scraps in my freezer at all times} but I just didn't think strawberry tops would go well with beef bones.

I turned to my trusty search engine and Google informed me that the tops can be dried out and used to make tea! The resulting infusion is reputed for easing the digestive tract and helping things work the way they should, as well as for being anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal. Alright then - let's get to drying!


I separated the greens from the bits of fruit because the drying times were different, but I think next time I clean strawberries I'll try to just remove the greens - I hadn't realized how much fruit I was cutting away!

You can make the tea using just the greens, or you can dry bits of fruit as well which will naturally sweeten the tea as well as add more flavor. If you have access to the whole plant, parts of the stem and stem leaves can also be dried and steeped.



A note of caution though - make sure you dry the greens out thoroughly. As strawberry leaves begin to decay, they release hydrogen cyanide gas which could be dangerous to us in large doses. Better safe than sorry and make sure those bad boys are dry!

Strawberry Tea

Ingredients:
  • Strawberry tops, greens separated from fruit
  • Boiling water
Method:
  1. Lay the greens and fruit bits out in a single layer on an oven safe tray. Bake at 150°C until dried. (The greens will dry out faster than the fruit. Time will vary depending on ovens, so check semi-frequently.)
  2. Pour boiling water over about 2 tbsp of dried strawberry greens and fruit, allow to steep for five to ten minutes. Enjoy!


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