بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
I havn't seen you all for a while now. My posts have been quite sporadic and I'm sorry for that. But just that's just how life is. As some of you may know I've been teaching English, mothering my four children and writing here and recently started a new project.
Good health is a result of balanced diet, physical exercise and mental equilibrium. The Prophet Mohammed ﷺ 's diet consisted of milk, honey, barley, meat and fruits.He was said to value and encourage variety and moderation. And variety and moderation are essential for good health. A balanced diet is ot about foods you should avoid, it is about foods you choose to include in your diet. A healthy eating habit helps to contribute to your general well being.
Abdullah bn Mas'ud reported The Prophet Mohammedt ﷺ as saying:
The Qur'an has given useful tips regarding balanced diet containing every ingredient necessary for growth, strength and repairs of body tissues.
Consuming wholesome, nutritious foods such as fruits, beans, pulses and vegetables helps to supply you with more nutrients and goodness than processed foods. Machallah , there are different fruits and vegetables that offer different colours, green, red, yellow, purple, etc. Colourful foods means healthy food. The benefits of fruits as good nourishment is described in The Holy Qur'an as follows:
"And of fruits of date-palm and grapes, whence ye derive strong drink and
nourishment. Lo! Therein indeed a portent for people who have sense" (An-Nahl 16:67)
"He it is who produceth gardens with trellises and without, and dates, and tilth with produce of all kinds and olives and pomegranetes, similar and different, eat of their fruit in season." (An-Nahl 16:141)
And with that said it's the end of May, start of June ... it's time for one of the most colourful and nutritious fruits ... the Quenn of Spring ... it's time for strawberry season!
Here in Algeria the season for strawberries begins in Febrauary and lasts until late June. In the beginning of the season, where I live they are quite pricey but slowly decrease. From April to June, the fruit is at its ripest and at an affordable price - so this is when we take full advantage of this super-fruit. Strawberries, eaten on their own are simply delicious. But we also enjoy the Algerian way of mixing the hulled and washed fruit with maz'har (orange blossom water), crushed mint and if needed some orange blossom water (or sugar).
Strawberries are an excellent nutrient-rich and packed with antioxidants (in the form of Vitamin C). One serving (about half cup) of strawberries contains 51.5 mg of vitamin C - that's half the needed daily dose! So double the serving and have enough Vitamin C for a whole day!
Strawberries offer a wide range of health benefits:
- The antioxidant properties in strawberries may also help to prevent cataracts—the clouding over of the eye lens—which can lead to blindness in older age. Our eyes require vitamin C to protect them from exposure to free-radicals from the sun’s harsh UV rays, which can damage the protein in the lens.
- Vitamin C is one of the antioxidants that can help with cancer prevention, since a healthy immune system is the body’s best defense.
- The power of vitamin C in strawberries continues, as it is vital to the production of collagen, which helps to improve skin’s elasticity and resilience. Since we lose collagen as we age, eating foods rich in vitamin C may result in healthier, younger-looking skin.
- Researchers at the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center in Toronto studied the effect of strawberries on a cholesterol-lowering diet and concluded that adding strawberries to the diet reduced oxidative damage, as well as blood lipids—both of which play a role in heart disease and diabetes.
- The antioxidants and phytochemicals found in strawberries may also help to reduce inflammation of the joints, which may cause arthritis and can also lead to heart disease.
- Strawberries regulate blood pressure. Potassium can help regulate blood pressure and may even help to lower high blood pressure by acting as a buffer against the negative effects of sodium. With their impact on the reduction of LDL, inflammation and high blood pressure, strawberries have earned the title of one of the most heart-healthy fruits you can eat.
- Fibre is a necessity for healthy digestion, and strawberries naturally contain about 2 g per serving. Problems that can arise from lack of fibre include constipation and diverticulitis—an inflammation of the intestines—which affects approximately 50 percent of people over 60. Fibre can also aid in fighting type 2 diabetes.
- Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best defenses against type 2 diabetes and heart disease, not to mention just plain good for your overall well-being. Strawberries are naturally low calorie (around 28 kCal per serving), fat-free and low in both sodium and sugar.Triple your serving to 1.5 cups and you'll have a snack that's less than 100 calories—and much healthier than those pre-packaged 100-calorie cookie snacks being sold in the US.
Today, I present one way I use up those overripe bruised berries. It's prefect for children as they like pancakes and add this super-food into the batter to make a super healthy meal for toddlers and children. I usually serve this with thinned out Madjoun fraiza (Algerian strawberry jam). Recipe is below.
Strawberry Flax pancakes
makes about 12 pancakes
- 225g - 2 cups flour (I use half white and half whole wheat) ๑۞๑
- 1 package (10g - 2 tsp) baking powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- 350mL - 1 1/2 cup lben (buttermilk)๑۞๑
- 3 TBS flax (ground in a grinder)
- about 6-10 strawberries, depending on their size hulled and cut small
- sugar or honey (to taste - I use about 2 TBS of honey or 4 TBS sugar)
- pinch of salt
- melted butter/smen or oil for frying the pancakes
- optional - strawberries hulled and sliced for decor
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar or honey (if using), the flaxmeal, and egg.
- Gently stir together then slowly and gradually add in the buttermilk into a somewhat smooth batter. Do not overmix. You will have a glutenous flat pancake.
- Heat up your frying pan.
- Add little dab of butter or oil then ladle a spoonful of the batter onto the pan. Small sauce ladle for sliverdollar pancakes nice for children or a large soup ladle for large pancakes for adults.
- Cook the pancake on each side for 2-3minutes.
- Remove from the pan. You will need to cook the pancakes in batches.
- So keep the cooked pancakes wrapped in foil. And optionally store them in a low oven while cooking the whole batch.
- Optionally when serving sprinkle with powdered sugar and decorate with sliced strawberries.
I usually serve these pancakes with homemade strawberry syrup (recipe below)
Homemade strawberry syrup
makes enough for one batch pancakes
-Whole wheat flour is called farina el gemkh (Derdja) or farine complet (French) and can be found in the stalls in the souq that sell grains in bulk.
-Flaxseed is called by their French name graine de lin in Algeria and can be found at the health food herbal shoppes.
- If you don't have buttermilk, use regular milk here or even yoghurt that you have thinned out with water.
- You can easily make these pancakes without the flax.
Homemade strawberry syrup
makes enough for one batch pancakes
- 3/4 cup Madjoun fraiza or any other strawberry jam
- 60mL -1/4 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- Put the ingredients in a small saucepan.
- Bring all ingredients to boil until jam is liquid, but somewhat thick. If it's too thin, let syrup sit without any heat for 5 minutes; stir and it should be ready.
- Store in sterilized jar or bottle.
Another healthy whole wheat pancake using dates can be viewed HERE - Whole wheat date pancakes with date syrup topping