Summer brings back some of my favorite fruits: Berries. Ripe, fresh strawberries, crisp, crunchy blueberries, and succulent, sweet raspberries are all in season and ready to enjoy! Each berry comes with its own health benefits and its own ways to be prepared. Although it is always nice to have a mixed berry medley, lets look individually at these berries and see what each one has to offer.
Strawberries, my personal favorite, are high in vitamin C and potassium. Due to the high potassium content, strawberries are used to lower blood pressure by helping to undo the effects of sodium in our bodies. Eating too much sodium can be just as bad for you as not eating enough potassium.
How to serve: Ice Pops!!
Strawberry Fields Ice Pops by Judita Wignall:
- 2 cups chopped strawberries, divided
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk
- 1tbs. of maple syrup or healthy sweetener of choice
- 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
- 10 pop molds
Directions: Blend one cup of strawberries with nut milk and sweetener until smooth. Mash the remaining strawberries with a fork. Distribute equally among pop molds followed by the puree. Allow the pops to chill for one to two hours or until slushy, then insert holders and chill until firm.
Blueberries are an incredible source of antioxidants and are also a great source of vitamin A. Much like carrots, these delicious berries have been known to prevent aging-induced vision loss.
How to serve: In a Salad!
Blueberry & Walnut Salad:
- Salad Greens of your choice
- Fresh blueberries
- Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
- Optional: Crumbled Fetta Cheese
Directions: Toss all ingredients together in a bowl and crumble some fetta cheese on top!
Raspberries are a powerful fruit! They have cancer-fighting properties due to the elegiac acid and vitamin c content. These components will help prevent cancer by keeping free radicals from causing damage to cells. Because of the role of free radicals in the aging process, raspberries may also slow some signs of aging, much like blueberries.
How to serve: In a Smoothie!
Vegan Raspberry “Cheesecake” Smoothie by Julie Van Den Kerchove:
- 1 1/2 cups Almond Milk
- 1 cup of raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 2 ripe bananas
- 2 tablespoons cashews (for the “cheesecake” flavor)
- 3 small dates, pitted and roughly chopped
Directions: Combine ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Top with extra raspberries and chopped cashews or almonds for a little extra crunch.
Blackberries have a very high tannin content. This provides a number of benefits to reduce intestinal inflammation and promote good digestion. The tannins are also effective in increasing oral hygiene.
How to serve: In a sauce!
Spicy Blackberry Pomegranate Sauce by Driscoll’s
- 3 cups Driscoll’s Blackberries
- 1 cup pomegranate arils (substitute 1 cup Driscoll’s Blackberries, if desired)
- 2/3 cup sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and roughly chopped (leave the seeds in if you want more heat)
- 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon cold water
Directions: Combine blackberries, pomegranate arils, sugar, jalapeño, and vinegar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until blackberries have broken down significantly. Continue to simmer, mashing blackberries against the side of the pan until blackberries are pulpy. Remove from heat.
Strain blackberry pulp through a fine mesh strainer until smooth (you might have to do it more than once). Return blackberry mixture to saucepan and bring to a boil. Whisk together cornstarch and water in a small cup or bowl. Add cornstarch mixture to boiling blackberry mixture and stir about 1 minute or until mixture is thickened and clear. Serve with crackers and goat cheese as an appetizer or as a dressing on a salad.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Madeline Wright