June in Chicago is high strawberry season, and brings multitudes of ways to enjoy these beautiful summertime treats. Courtney Schuchmann, registered dietitian at the University of Chicago Digestive Diseases Center, notes that strawberries are a great source of vitamin C, which can help support good immune health—one cup of strawberries provides 100% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. They are also a source of antioxidants, which can help with the body’s response to stress and inflammation. Strawberries and other fruit can provide the body with needed fiber, as well, which can help can help improve the diversity of the gut microbiome, and for some IBD patients, even improve their symptoms. In this recipe, the strawberry seeds are removed, to provide a smoother texture for patients with more sensitive digestive systems.
- ½ cup sugar*
- 1 cup water
- 1 T. lemon juice
- 2 t. light olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 cup fresh sweet basil leaves
- 1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled
- *Adjust the sweetness of the syrup to your preference by adding more or less sugar.
- Make a variation on simple syrup: heat water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Cool 10 minutes.
- Into the warm syrup, stir in olive oil and basil leaves and let steep for 30 minutes.
- Blend strawberries in a blender or food processor until very liquid.
- Strain strawberries through a fine mesh sieve. Using a spatula or wooden spoon to push the strawberry pulp into a bowl. This removes the seeds and makes the mixture more evenly textured. Discard seeds and excess pulp.
- Strain basil from simple syrup mixture. Discard the basil.
- Mix simple syrup, lemon juice, and strawberries very well with a whisk.
- Pour the mixture into a shallow pan or dish, and place in the freezer.
- After thirty minutes, use a fork to stir and scrape the mixture, moving the frozen edges to the center.
- Continue to stir and scrape the freezing mixture every thirty to forty-five minutes until solid crystals form. Garnish with basil leaves and strawberry slices (or serve in a wine glass with 2 oz. of rosé or champagne for an alcoholic twist!)
Makes 4 small servings.