Timeless Nutrition Tips...
Berries pack quite a nutritional bang for your buck - they provide important amounts of vitamins, especially vitamin C, plenty of fiber, plus antioxidants and phytochemicals known to prevent certain diseases.
In regard to antioxidants, berries are on the top ten list and what better time of year to start incorporating more berries in your diet than summer? More berry-benefits include nutrients such as folate (folic acid), which helps prevent birth defects and may help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and colon cancer.
Freebie: The Top 10 Antioxidant Foods (PDF)
Berries can also help lower LDL cholesterol, a contributor to heart disease, stroke and atherosclerosis. Strawberries, and especially raspberries are high in ellagic acid, which has been shown to help reduce colon and cervical cancer and leukemia.
Fiber: Berries with edible skins also are a good source of fiber.
Some suggestions for adding more berries in your diet include adding strawberries to your cereal, snacking on raspberries, stirring blueberries into your yogurt and tossing blackberries in your dinner salad.
Berries & Fruit Jams
Berries have been an important part of culinary traditions, as well. From preserving berries to pressing them for juice. These practices stretch across many cultures and date back centuries.
Make jam, jellies, pie fillings, desserts, ice cream toppings or fruit leather with strained berries. Simply process berries that have very small seeds. Remove stems and leaves. Rinse berries, drain well, then strain. Sweeten to taste.
Sweet Berry Pickings
Blackberries: Choose deep, evenly colored berries with a nice sheen. Blackberries should be plump and dry, with no dents or bruises. Colors can range from deep blue-purple to deep purple-black. Blackberries are often two-tone (this does not affect ripeness or taste). These beneficial berries are delicious.
Blueberries: Select dry, plump round berries that don’t have any dents or bruises. Look for a soft, hazy-white coating, called bloom, on the skin. This is naturally found in blueberries and helps protect them from the harsh rays of the sun. Avoid berries that are shriveled or lack bloom.
Raspberries: Look for plump, evenly colored red or golden raspberries that have a soft, hazy gloss. Berries should be free of dents and bruises. Raspberries have tiny, natural hairs called styles, which don’t affect their ripeness or their flavor.
Freezing Raspberries, Blueberries and Blackberries
- Spread unwashed raspberries or blueberries on rimmed baking sheet. Blackberries require rinsing under cold running water. Pat dry, then put on sheet.
- Clear an area in your freezer that is large enough to accommodate baking sheet with berries. Freeze berries, uncovered, until solid, at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Transfer frozen berries to zip-close zipper freezer bags. Squeeze out air, seal each bag, and then label with the date. Berries can be frozen up to 3 months.
- Thaw berries in refrigerator overnight if desired. Just before using, gently rinse thawed (or frozen) berries under cold running water. Drain.
Uh-Oh, Berry Stained Hands?
It is fun to pick your own berries, but your fingers can get stained from the berry juice. Soap and water isn't quite enough to clean those stains off. Try washing your hands with undiluted lemon juice, then wait a few minutes and wash with warm, soapy water. Repeat until your hands are stain-free.
Did you know?
The grapefruit, tomato and watermelon all fit the botanical definition of a berry.
Try fitting beneficial berries into your diet every day. They’re delicious!
Nutritious Berries Recipe Ideas
Pledge of Allegiance Parfaits
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 cup blueberries
2 cups vanilla lowfat yogurt
Fill the bottom of parfait glasses with strawberries. Add yogurt and blueberries, and then repeat layers in original order. Top with a flag decoration and serve. Per serving (Serves 2) : 4g protein, 1g fat, 450 mg calcium, 16.5g carbohydrates, 85 calories
Berry Frozen Yogurt
You will eat this because it is so refreshing and delicious - the fiber and anitoxidants are a bonus.
2-1/2 cups strawberries, sliced and frozen
2 cups blueberries, frozen
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain low fat yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Place the frozen berries in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until smooth. Gradually add the yogurt and lemon juice and process until completely incorporated. Serve immediately or cover and freeze in individual portions for up to 2 weeks. If you freeze portions, let them sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before eating. Makes four servings.
Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 95; Calories from Fat: 10; Fat: 1.1g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 2mg; Sodium: 28mg; Carbohydrates: 20.2g; Dietary Fiber: 3.5g; Protein: 3.2g
Watermelon and Berries Power Juice
This is a cleansing treat for the urinary tract and the liver. Also reduces inflammation in the body. Cranberries and blueberries line the cells of the urinary tract and bladder preventing harmful bacteria from anchoring to the cells. Blueberries also contain a powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient that is ten times stronger than aspirin (without the harmful side effects). Watermelon is one of the few foods that contain a potent nutraceutical called glutathione. Nutraceuticals are compounds found in food that have nutritional and medicinal properties. This super food greatly improves detoxification in the liver. This is a remarkable accomplishment that helps the body more effectively eliminate synthetic chemicals.
2 large slices of watermelon
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup cranberries
Push all ingredients through a juicer. Serve over ice if desired.