Today is the first day of summer, which means budding flowers, a harvest of fresh veggies and weekly trips to the farmers market! One of my favorite summer activities is taking part in a beautiful family strawberry picking! Gorgeous berries as far as the eye can see, strawberry fields forever! Though strawberries have quite a short growing season around here, I try my best to get as much out of them as possible. What a better combination than sweet, succulent berries and bright, subtle mint? With this fresh and creamy ice cream your family will not be able to wait till next year's season!
Strawberries are packed with both vitamin C and antioxidants, but in order to harness these nutrients at their peak, it is best to use strawberries (and other berries) within 2 - 3 days. These powerful berries help fight cancers including breast, cervical, esophageal and colon. Regulation of blood sugar, prevention of type two diabetes and plenty of cardiovascular support are also among the many health benefits of strawberries.
Coconut milk is a key ingredient in this creamy treat. Though many might deem it impossible to create a dairy free ice cream without sacrificing decadence, the creaminess of coconut milk allows for this to be achieved. This nutritious milk not only contains 22 percent of your recommended daily dose of iron, but it also provides us with both fiber and magnesium! The saturated fats found in coconut milk are unlike the ones found in meats and more like the ones found in human breast milk, which makes it an excellent weight management supplement. Coconut milk has also been found to help lower bad cholesterol as well as benefit heart health.
Mint, one of my favorite warm weather herbs, I toss it into soups, over yogurt and especially with desserts. This fresh tasting herb can be used in more ways than in gum. Mint can add that extra bit of zing while also providing a necessary contrast of flavor! This awesome herb has been around for along time, and it is to no surprise that it was used for medical purposes. Mint is known for its ability to help ease digestion, suppress headaches, treat cough and other respiratory conditions, clear up skin and of course aid in oral care!
We have all had to make the decision, cup or cone? As we peered over the counter, glanced at all the colorful ice cream arrangement and thought in our heads "do I want the ice cream to drip all over my hand, or do I want limit myself to a spoon?" (some of us might still make this decision). Well, while the days of those perfectly crispy cloud-like cones are over for me, that does not mean I have to sacrifice that creamy decadence! Now after hearing about all these empowering nutrients packed into this so called dessert, feel free to indulge a little.
Fresh Strawberry Mint Ice Cream
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 cup fresh strawberries (leaves left on)
2 tbs virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup local raw honey or agave
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves*
1/4 tsp organic mint extract (optional)
1 whole frozen banana, cut into chunks
1/3 cup almond milk
Wash and gather all ingredients (except the frozen banana and almond milk), then add them to a high speed blender or food processor. Blend until very smooth (little green should be visible).
Next, pour your ice cream mixture into ice cube trays or one large freezer safe dish. Freeze the ice cubes until solid or, alternately place your dish into the freezer and break the cream into chunks after freezing.
Now, add all your frozen cubes into a high speed blender or food processor along with the frozen banana and 1/3 cup almond milk. Blend/ process until smooth. You can serve this immediately or freeze it in a large freezer safe dish for about 4 more hours to firm up. Garnish with fresh mint and enjoy!
*If you truly do not like mint, do not worry, you really cannot taste it very much it just adds a little bit more freshness to the mix. You can feel free to leave it out though, or sub in another herb such as basil!