Fresh Berries - One of Summer's Simple Pleasures
Posted: Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Look for strawberries, free of blemishes, that have shiny red flesh and fresh green caps. Raspberries and blackberries should be free of stems, without any dry, brown spots. Berries with stems were picked unripe and will never get any sweeter. Blueberries should be plump with waxy blue-black skins and pale green flesh.
Spread unwashed berries out on a paper towel-lined baking sheet; store in the refrigerator. The paper toweling helps prevent molding by absorbing moisture. Rinse berries just before using.
Berries freeze well. Fragile berries like raspberries and blackberries work best when added frozen to batters because freezing firms up their flesh and prevents their juices from bleeding. To freeze, rinse in a colander with cold water; pat dry with paper toweling. Transfer blueberries into containers. For strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, freeze on a paper towel-lined baking sheet before transferring to freezer containers so they don't stick together.
Quick Ideas for Berries
- Mix berries in mascarpone.
- Top berries with crème fraîche and brown sugar.
- Press berries into cupcake batter before baking.
- Thread a variety of berries on skewers and add as a garnish to fruit juice or sparkling wine.
- Layer brownie pieces, whipped cream and berries in parfait glasses.
- Fill purchased meringue shells with a scoop of sorbet; top with berries.
- Beat 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup super fine sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla until soft peaks form; fold in berries.
New Varieties That Are Centuries Old
What's old is new when it comes to berries, as beverages that contain Goji berries and Yumberries have started to appear in the juice section. Considered to be one of the most nutritious fruits on earth, they are high in antioxidants, vitamins C and B and a good source of protein and potassium. Goji berries are believed to be associated with vitality and longevity as well. Yumberries are packed with OPCs, the most potent free-radical-fighting antioxidants. Twenty times more powerful than vitamin C and 50 times more potent than vitamin E, OPCs protect the body against internal and environmental stresses and are said to defend against premature aging as well as cardiovascular and other degenerative diseases and premature aging. The OPCs in Yumberries have also been shown to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, help lower LDL cholesterol levels and increase strength and elasticity of blood vessels while slowing down the collapse of collagen. This helps keep skin firm, smooth and wrinkle free.
It might be time to try something new!