When was the last time that you went picking berries? Remember how much fun it was to find a good section, sit in the sun, fill your buckets, and for every berry in the basket you would eat 2. Temporary stained fingers and tongues are a cheap price to pay for the many health benefits all summer long.
If you’re planning on adding a piece of fruit to your diet this year, make it berries. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries all taste amazing, and also have amazing nutritional value. The abundance of antioxidants in berries is getting everyone excited for summer.
Supermarket Savvy, Storing, and Freezing
When choosing berries, be sure to examine the pint container carefully for any signs of mold. Once mold has started it can spread quickly from berry to berry. Shop at supermarkets with a high turnover, or at farmer’s markets where the food has traveled the shortest distance, to ensure the freshest fruit. Because berries are fragile, keep them in their original containers or arrange them in a shallow pan (to reduce pressure from stacking), cover them with a paper towel and put them in the refrigerator. Don’t wash them until just before you’re ready to use them. Blueberries freeze especially well. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until hardened, then transfer them to a resealable bag. Incidentally, frozen berries taste great and retain much of their nutritional value. In a pinch, you can substitute them for fresh in baking and smoothies.
When berries are in season they are unbelievably cheap, so buy in bulk, because there delicious little fruits are great for keeping you healthy, on track and closer to your fitness and health goals
- Toss a handful of berries into your morning cereal to pump up its nutritional value.
- Start off the day (or curb afternoon and evening cravings) with a fresh berry smoothie: Blend a mix of whatever berries you have on hand with half a banana and low-fat vanilla yogurt. Thin it with a bit of apple juice, and sweeten it with a bit of honey if necessary.
- Fold a handful of berries into your low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
- For a berry sauce to drizzle over pancakes, grilled chicken breast or frozen yogurt, puree 1½ cups berries with 1/3 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice until smooth. Fold in another 1½ cups whole berries with a spoon.
- Top a bed of greens with a few berries and a tangy vinaigrette.
- Rinse (yes, actually rinse) strawberries with red wine or balsamic vinegar for a very Italian take on dessert.
- If you must indulge in an ice cream or frozen yogurt, simply portion out the ice cream and load up the bowl with mountains of berries.
(Weight Watchers, 2012)