Loaded with antioxidants, fiber and vitamins, berries do a body good and, as they come into peak season, the markets are full of them!
After getting reacquainted with the simple pleasure of eating in-season berries au natural, the question is: what else? Now, putting berries in desserts is a no-brainer: pies, tarts, cobblers, crumbles, cakes, muffins, custards, ice cream and sorbet, the list goes on. And, of course, you can always throw them in your cereal and salads. But don’t stop there!
Here are four ways we love to use those extra berries:
1) Salsa – Using a basic salsa recipe of tomato, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime and salt, simply replace half the tomato with blackberries, blueberries and sliced strawberries. Adjust the flavor to taste with a splash of orange juice a squeeze of honey or a dash of apple cider vinegar.
2) Fruit Leather – Wash the berries, then puree and strain. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to preserve the color and brighten the flavor. If your berries are really ripe, there’s no need to add sugar! Pour into a lined 13” x 15” tray (we recommend using a Siplat, but you can sue plastic wrap). Dehydrate at 140 degrees in a dehydrator or oven, for 6-8 hours or until it is dried enough to touch without leaving a mark. 1 pint of berries makes one 13” x 15” tray.
3) Pickled – Hard to imagine? Just wait until you try them! Start with Hip Girl Kate Payne’s basic shrub ration of 1 part fruit, 1 part vinegar and 1 part sugar. Heat the vinegar and dissolve the sugar in it, then add in spices (we like cinnamon & allspice or mustard & fennel seed). Put the berries in a jar and pour the hot brine over them. Cap and cool, then put in fridge for at least 3 days. Use the pickled berries in salad, over grilled meat or in mixed drinks. Use the vinegar brine in salad dressings, sauces or in a shrub drink.
4) Freezer Jam – You don’t have to break out the canning pot for this one! Freezer jam can be made with or without added pectin, cooked or uncooked. Two quick and easy recipes to try: