The fresh berry season seems so short to me. I really try to eat more seasonally and regionally, but I must admit that I buy frozen organic berries to use mostly in fruit smoothies (see below) during the sad non-berry season.
Growing fresh berries may be the most exciting – especially if you have a local bear that becomes familiar with your crop! Until our current house, I’ve always had some berry bushes and enjoyed the picked-off-the-bush freshness of berries for breakfast AND dessert! I tried container strawberries on the deck in the last couple of years, but it was such an unbelievable chore to keep them from the critters, that I gave up, surrendered my succulent beauties to some very happy chipmunks and whoever else was enjoying them.
I love to buy fresh local berries or even pick them myself from some of the U-Pick farms in my area (Northern New Jersey). Knowing that berries often get the worst kind of pesticides sprayed on them, I’m kind of careful of how they’ve been grown. I almost never buy them non-organic out of season in the grocery store as they often come from South America, where they are allowed to use more pesticides. (not sure about current trade laws, but it used to be that we (US) weren’t allowed to use DDT on our own crops, but we still produced the stuff, sent it down to Mexico and S. America, where THEY used it on various crops, and turned around and sent it back to us – this may not be the case any more, but it is so emblazoned in my little mind, that it is very difficult for me to buy any berries from the supermarket that are NOT organic).
Wow. There’s a berry rant for you! Click on to see my favorite ways to eat berries!
1. Green Diva Meg’s Special Berry Breakfast
I eat this almost daily during the week – bring my glass container to work and savor it during a morning break (I hate eating first thing in the morning).
1/4 – 1/2 c. Plain Yogurt* (I prefer 2%/low fat – either thick greek or some good organic stuff)
1/8 – 1/4 tsp. vanilla
2 pkts. stevia plus powder (or sweeten as desired)
1/4 – 1/2 c. Granola (obviously your favorite – or NOT. this is optional)
up to 1 Tbs. Roasted, Ground Flax seeds (easy – spread out on cookie sheet, heat oven to 250 degrees and bake about 10 – 12 minutes. put in grinder or blender – voila!)
1/4 – 1/2 c. Berries! (whatever mix you like)
*As you may have guessed, I like to make my own vanilla falvored yogurt, which cuts down on a lot of suger. I try to buy low-sugar granola too and sometimes, I cut out the granola all together, which cuts out a bunch of sugar, carbs, and fat . . . not often enough!
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the vanilla into the yogurt thoroughly, then add stevia or sweetner and mix well again. Then add granola (or not), fresh berries (cutting strawberries into bite-sized pieces, obviously), ground/roasted flaxseeds, and enjoy!
2. Green Diva Meg’s Easy Berry Crumble
I posted this prematurely (about a month ago). Please visit that post for the yummy details!
3. Elegant Fresh Strawberry Dessert
This one comes from my mother, who was well-known and loved for her dinner parties back in the 60s and 70s, when dinner parties were a more formal and regular occurance (at least in our household).
Sour Cream (could probably substitute with some good thick greek yogurt, but I’ve never tried it)
Wash the strawberries, but keep the green tops (unless they are yucky) and keep them whole. If you have enough small individual bowls for each guest, give them one each of a couple of tablespoons of sour cream and brown sugar. Small parties/groups can just share. The goal is to dip the strawberry into the sour cream, then into the brown sugar and eat the whole thing (double dipping isn’t encouraged in a shared environment unless you are all very close and comfortable with that sort of thing).
4. Old Faithful – Berry Fruit Salad
I like to mix up all kinds of berries (color is important – I’m not sure why, but it is – so, I like to make sure I have some red berries AND blue/black berries).
Peeled/Cored, sliced pears
Peeled, sliced up peaches
Fresh heavy cream (optional)
Obviously, this is a personalized thing. My daughter just LOVES to make whipped cream and so sometimes we go nuts and use it, but it really doesn’t need it.
5. Healthy Berry Smoothie
The basis of this is from Anne Louise Gittleman’s Fat Flush Plan, but as always, I tend to alter recipes to fit my own taste.
1/2 c. Fresh Berries (can use frozen in winter)
1 Peach or Nectarine
1/2 c. Water
1 Tbs. Flaxseed Oil
1 Pkt. Stevia (or other sweetner – to taste)
Vanilla Protein Powder (I prefer Whey, but you can use whatever type you like)
Mix it all up in the blender and enjoy!
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons