Summer brings us so much fresh produce, we could spend all our time (and money) at the farmers market. Stand after stand offers us the most colorful, fresh, and delicious veggies and fruits including berries. Summer is the peak season for berries of all colors, shapes, and sizes – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and more! Sweet and bursting with flavor, these berries are perfect for all our summer recipes, both sweet and savory. Berries are also superfoods, offering us lots of good health in the tiniest, prettiest, and yummiest packages. Here is a quick primer on summer berries along with lots of ways to use them for the sweetest summer ever.
1. Seasonal Summer Berries
The warmer months bring us lots of different berries in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Look for seasonal berries such as fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. There are also boysenberries, elderberries, loganberries, mulberries, ollalieberries, and black currants. When you hit the farmers market, try a berry that is new to you. The farmers will be more than happy to give you some hints and tips for using them.
2. Health Benefits
They may be little but berries are considered superfoods. They contain lots of antioxidants that fight free radicals that can make us ill. The phytochemicals in berries include anthocyanins, quercetin, and vitamin C. Blueberries also contain healthy resveratrol.
But antioxidants aren’t the only healthy thing about berries. They also contain fiber and folate. Berries have a high water content which means they keep up hydrated in summer and can help us feel full with minimal calories. Learn more about the health benefits in Why You Should be Eating More Blueberries and Raspberries and How and Why Berries Benefit Different Parts of the Body.
3. Selection and Storage
Select berries that are firm, well-shaped, and dry. Avoid any berries that are crushed, moldy, soft, wrinkled, watery, or dehydrated, as that may mean the berries are overripe or old. They should have vibrant colors depending on the specific berry.
Berries do not ripen after they are picked, so it’s best to eat them within 24 hours. Berries have a short shelf-life, between three days and a week at most. Keep the berries in their original containers and do not wash them until you are ready to use them or eat them. Loosely top them with a paper towel or plastic wrap to absorb moisture and keep them in the fridge. When you are ready to use them, rinse the berries, drain them, and pat them dry.
4. Freezing Berries
Since berries have a short shelf-life, you can freeze them. Make sure they are unwashed and completely dry. Arrange the berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer. Once they are frozen, transfer the berries to freezer bags. Frozen berries can last up to a year so you can enjoy the tastes of summer all year-round.
Strawberries are fresh, red, and so sweet. Of all the berries, strawberries are the most popular but guess what? They aren’t even berries! Not technically, since a berry has its seeds on the inside and strawberries are the only fruit that has its seeds on the outside, all 200 of them! Strawberries are also members of the rose family – no wonder they smell so sweet.
Try using your fresh strawberries to make these Strawberry Turnovers with Tahini Maple Drizzle, Strawberry Coconut Sponge Cake, Classic Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, Berry Fruit Tarts with Chia Seeds, and this No-Bake Strawberry Tart with White Chocolate Matcha Glaze. Cool off with these Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles and these Creamy Strawberry Basil Pops.
If you love strawberries as much as we do, you’ll want to use them in delicious dessert recipes all summer long. Try these 25 Fresh and Juicy Strawberry Recipes (All Vegan), 25 Sweet and Spectacular Recipes with Strawberries, and then get refreshed with these 15 Cool Strawberry Desserts You Have to Have This Summer.
Blueberries are the only naturally blue foods in existence but that’s not the only thing amazing about these berries. They are also one of the healthiest foods you can eat. In fact, just three and a half ounces of blueberries can provide the same amount of antioxidants as five servings of broccoli or kale! Blueberries are one of the few fruits native to North America but they are enjoyed all around the world. They are tart and juicy and the perfect summer fruit to eat raw or cooked.
Enjoy blueberries from breakfast through dessert. Start your day with this Healthy Blueberry Banana French Toast or these Blueberry and White Chocolate Muffins. These Summer Fruit Spring Rolls make a lovely light lunch as do these Berry Coconut Smoothie Bowls. Indulge in this No-Bake Blueberry Vanilla Cake, Summer Berry Cashew Cream Pie, or these Mini Blueberry Cheesecakes for dessert. For an anytime snack, enjoy these Blueberry Spirulina Chocolates or these Banana and Blueberry Oat Bars.
There are so many other mouthwatering recipes you can make with blueberries – just look at these 25 Rich and Beautiful Vegan Recipes for Blueberry Lovers, 25 Delicious Blueberry-Filled Recipes, 15 Brilliant Blueberry Recipes Perfect for Summer Treats, and 15 Beautiful, Decadent, and Dairy-Free Blueberry Cake Recipes. Having the blues is a good thing when it means enjoying a bounty of blueberries!
Raspberries are considered to be the most intensely flavored member of the berry family. They come in lots of different colors including red, purple, gold, and black. Named after a 16th-century French wine called raspis, raspberries are thought to have existed since prehistoric times.
To make the most of your raspberries, you’ll want to make this beautiful Raw Raspberry and Chocolate Ganache Cheesecake. You’ll also love this Raspberry Mille-Feuille with Lemon Pastry Cream, No-Bake Raspberry Chocolate Cake, Raw Raspberry Mint Cheesecake, Peanut Butter Berry Cups, and Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake. These Pitaya Raspberry Chocolate Popsicles and these Raspberry Yogurt Popsicles will make your summer days so sweet.
For more recipes, check out Be Pretty in Pink With These 15 Desserts With Raspberries and 25 Colorful and Delicious Raspberry Recipes.
Blackberries may not seem to be as popular as other berries but maybe that’s just because we don’t hear about them as much. With their dark blue, almost purple color, blackberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits. Blackberries are tart, sweet, and fruity and are a popular choice for jams, jellies, and even wine. Blackberries pair well with lemon and chocolate.
Try blackberries in these Blackberry Chocolate Cupcakes, Blackberry Strawberry Sorbet, Lemon Blackberry Pie, Blackberry Coconut Cheesecake Bars, Raspberry and Blackberry Tarts, and these Blackberry Thyme Crumble Bars. This Saffron Custard Tart with Figs and Blackberries will impress your guests while this Blackberry Superfood Cheesecake will disappear before your eyes. Don’t forget the savory dishes like this Cucumber Quinoa Salad with Blackberries.
There’s nothing like summer produce – it’s vibrant, fresh, and so delicious. Berries are sweet, colorful and super healthy for you so be sure to eat them up while they’re in season!
Lead Image Source: Summer Fruit Tart With Creamy Cashew Filling