Fresh and fruity, our scrumptious strawberry smoothie recipe reimagines a classic drink with the addition of free radical-fighting aronia. This tangy tonic is rich in nutrients that support heart health and leave your skin glowing.
Queen of berries
The strawberry is one of the most quintessential British ingredients of the summer, conjuring up decadent images of Victoria sponge cakes, afternoon tea and vibrant bowls of red berries slathered in cream at Wimbledon. However, the fruit’s history is actually far more international than you might have realised.While there are species of strawberry that grow wild in the UK, these tend to be smaller and less sweet than the modern varieties we know and love. In the mid-18th century, horticulturists crossbred sweeter Virginia strawberries from North America with larger Chilean strawberries that were brought back to Europe by a French spy following an assignment in South America.(1)This experimentation continued throughout the 19th century as the fruit became ever more popular in England. It eventually led to the kinds that you’ll find in the shops today – which are perfect for our strawberry smoothie recipe!To enjoy them at their best, look for fresh strawberries that are plump, firm, and deep red in colour, because they don’t ripen any further once they’ve been picked. If they are white or green at the top, they might taste a little bit too tart.Be sure to store your strawberries in the fridge in their original container to extend their shelf life. Alternatively, you can buy frozen varieties so that they last longer with no need to worry about a loss of flavour or nutritional value.
A rose by any other name…
Strawberries are members of the rose family, and despite the name, they’re technically not true berries. This is because berries have their seeds on the inside, whereas a strawberry, on the other hand, has its seeds on the outside.This is where it gets even more interesting though, because those little specks that we think of as seeds are actually what’s known as achenes – tiny fruits with a seed inside. As such, a strawberry is classified botanically as an ‘accessory fruit’ that acts as a receptacle for all those other tiny fruits.
Pretty in pink: the strawberry smoothie recipe
As the popularity of strawberries grew and grew, chefs and bakers devised all sorts of innovative ways to enjoy them (and continue to do so!). From cakes and tarts to pancakes, mousse and ice cream, you can utilise this versatile fruit in an endless variety of dishes – including, of course, the much-loved strawberry smoothie recipe.The invention of the blender and development of the health food movement propelled smoothies to fame in the 1960s and 70s, and strawberries have been a key ingredient in the drinks ever since. Not only are they delicious and readily available, but strawberries are also rich in nutrients. Opting for a strawberry smoothie recipe gives the drink a refreshing burst of sweetness, plus results in a beautiful pink colour that makes it extra appetising.Alongside the strawberries themselves, as this is a strawberry smoothie recipe without yogurt, we’ve added banana to give it extra creaminess and body. In addition, we’ve included a handful of blackberries for their vibrant purple colour, tangy sweetness, and a further dose of vitamins. The aronia shot is also fantastic for this, but we’ll come on to that later!You’ll notice that the recipe also calls for sweetened oat milk. However, you can substitute this for another form of plant-based milk if you prefer. Alternatively, you could try making this strawberry smoothie recipe with yogurt instead of milk for a thicker and more creamy drink.As a special treat, our strawberry smoothie recipe also includes just under a tablespoon of peanut butter. This is a great way to add more depth of flavour, as well as protein andhealthy fats. Of course, feel free to experiment with other types of nut butter such as almond or cashew, and see which combination you like best.
The health benefits of strawberries
The humble strawberry has far more to offer us than simply an attractive colour, pleasant scent and scrumptious taste (as if these weren’t enough!). It also provides a whole wealth of health benefits that make this strawberry and aronia smoothie recipe as nutritious as it is delicious!For example, strawberries are rich invitamin C, which plays a vital role in the body’s immune system and helps wounds to heal more quickly.(2) In fact, one portion contains more vitamin C than an orange! Other key nutrients contained in these dietary powerhouses include potassium, folate, polyphenols and manganese.Strawberries are also high inantioxidants and anthocyanins, which help to fight against chemicals called free radicals that can damage our cells. Incidentally, anthocyanins are what give strawberries their vivid red colour.Moreover, due to the fact that they’re high in fibre, low in calories, and have a low glycaemic index (GI), strawberries can be beneficial for healthy weight management. Low GI foods release their energy more slowly, meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar levels.Studies also suggest that eating strawberries can help to keep your heart healthy.(3) Berry consumption is linked with numerous cardiovascular benefits, including improvedcholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. This is key because it can in turn reduce the risk of harmful conditions such as heart attacks and strokes.Another really interesting benefit of tucking into strawberries is that it’s good for your brain. Findings indicate that eating berries regularly can support cognitive functions such as learning and memory, plus slow down cognitive decline as we age.(4)So, as you whizz up our strawberry smoothie recipe, you can feel confident that you’re doing something positive for both your body and your mind!
A twist on a classic strawberry smoothie recipe
The strawberry smoothie recipe has been around for so long, it would be impossible to improve on it, right? Not so fast! Here at Erbology, we love to put a fresh twist on our favourite classics.For instance, the inclusion of blackberries and nut butter in the traditional strawberry and banana base is a brilliant way to get a greater depth of flavour. However, the real star addition to this strawberry smoothie recipe is the aronia.Aronia shots are bursting with a zesty berry flavour reminiscent of blueberry, cranberry and pomegranate, bringing a refreshing tangy note to this strawberry smoothie recipe. They also have an intense dark purple colour that combines beautifully with the pink of the blended strawberry mixture for a fabulously photogenic drink.Adding a splash of a tonic such as aronia to your strawberry smoothie recipe is a fantastic – and easy – way to ensure that it really packs a punch in terms of nutrients.Also known as chokeberries because of their bitter, mouth-drying taste when they’re eaten fresh, aronia berries are rich in anthocyanins. These help to protect your body from cell damage and premature ageing. As such, this aronia smoothie recipe is a wonderful choice if you want tokeep your heart healthy and your skin clear and glowing.In addition to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, some studies have suggested that aronia berries may also have cancer-fighting properties.(5) Furthermore, the high levels of vitamin C it contains give aronia the same immune system-boosting powers as strawberries. Unfortunately, aronia berries are a far less common sight in supermarkets compared to strawberries – so getting them as a juice shot is a simple way to include them in your diet.