Berries are summer’s most natural sweet treat. From strawberries in June, blackberries in July and now blueberries in August, each summer month brings a new berry to be enjoyed. With long summer days winding down, it’s time to enjoy the last of these delicious fruits.
Besides tasting super fresh on these hot days, berries have incredible health benefits. While little in size, berries are loaded with antioxidants that help combat illness and stress. They can also benefit those with diabetes, high blood pressure, poor memory and help with weight management. Containing benefits for the whole body, how can you go wrong eating a handful of these treasures for a snack?! You simply can’t. But don’t stop with a snack- get cooking with your berries! Skip the fruit salad and use your fresh summer berries in a new way. Here are ten refreshing ways to incorporate the last of your summer berries into your daily meals:
Making jam is the perfect way to use up an abundance of fresh berries. Homemade jam is a healthy alternative to grocery store brands that can be loaded with processed sugars and artificial flavorings. For a simple jam, you only need berries, pectin (thickener), and a sweetener of your choice. Learn step by step how to make jam and don’t be afraid to get funky with this basic recipe! Throw in some chia seeds for a protein boost and try making these Oat and Cashew Thumbprint Cookies. You can also spread your jam on this Red Quinoa Oatmeal Bread for a berry-ful, breakfast delight.
Did you pick way too many blueberries? Don’t let these little gems go to waste! Preserve your extra berries by sticking them in the freezer. Fill up a freezer-safe container or bag and you’re good to go. You can use frozen berries for smoothies or for desserts like this Banana Berry Ice Cream Cake or this Acai Berry Ice Cream. The best part about freezing berries is that you can get all the delicious tastes of summer even in the colder months.
Popsicles are not just for kids these days. So easy to make, homemade berry popsicles are a healthy alternative to high-sugar artificially flavored ones you find at the grocery store. With all the healthy antioxidants from strawberries, these Skin Saving Strawberry Fruit Popsicles are sure to get you glowing. These popsicles use orange juice as a base, but feel free to switch this out for water or a plant-based milk. For more of a snack, try out these Blueberry and Granola Breakfast Popsicles. Use up those berries and make popsicles for your next pool party, or simply save them for an autumn snack. For more popsicle ideas, check out these 10 Vegan Popsicles.
Summer is all about salads- and not just fruit salad! Strawberries and blueberries make wonderful additions to light summer salads. Strawberries pair well with a spinach salad, while blueberries taste subtly sweet in a mixed green or romaine salad. Add some sliced almonds or chopped walnuts for some extra crunch. For a low-fat, plant-based dressing, infuse your berries into a homemade dressing like this Miso-Berry Dressing. For a refreshing lunch, opt for adding some berries to one of these Vegan Mason Jar Salads.
Get saucy and whip up some salsa. Salsa is a great pool-side snack and is completely plant-based and healthy. Switch up your normal mango or black bean salsa and substitute some berries instead. Blueberries are an ideal size to add to a salsa and are just the right amount of sweet and tart. Strawberries are another good option as they can be cut up small without falling apart. Strawberries taste awesome with fresh basil or with a little spice like in this Sweet and Spicy Salsa. Make this Strawberry Spring-Onion Salsa and add it to a tofu scramble, an exciting kebab, or even with corn on the cob.
Make a pizza pie that everyone will love! Fruit pizza is a fun way to use up all those berries and make a unique dessert. You only need a few ingredients for a fruit pizza- a crust, a base, and fresh berries! Make this Whole Wheat Vegan Pizza Crust for a plant-based alternative to store-bought brands. For a base, spread on some non-dairy yogurt, vegan ricotta cheese, or even a nut butter. This Coconut Kefir would make a deliciously creamy pizza base. From here, simply pile on all of your berries! If you’re feeling artistically ambitious try making a cool design with your berries!
Summer is the best time for soaking in the rays and being active outdoors. With all this nature fun, it’s all too common to get dehydrated. Keep your water fresh n’ cool by using your leftover berries to add flavor! Infused water will not only keep you hydrated, but it will satisfy that sweet tooth craving. For an easy flavored water, simply drop raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries into your water. For some fancy h2o make these Flavorful Ice Cubes and you’ll be sure to impress your thirsty friends.
Not quite a jam, but not quite a sauce either. Compotes and coulis can be made in a breeze with your berries. Compotes are chunky and taste great on top of pancakes or toast. A coulis is a thick sauce that can be added to sweet or savory dishes. Make this Chocolate Mousse Tower With Raspberry Coulis for a sweet dessert. Adding a coulis is sure to perk up tofu or any other mild-tasting dish. Compotes and coulis are very strong in flavor and the fruit is cooked down to burst with berry tastes.
Dried fruit makes a healthy, on-the-go snack. Dried blueberries or strawberries are crazy good and can be sprinkled over your morning oatmeal or in your cereal. To dry your berries, use a dehydrator or pop them in your oven. Dried berries are also tasty to add to your trail mix and can make the perfect hiking munchies. Learn mix and match ingredients for a mix and throw in some dried berries for extra sweetness.
Pie, pudding, cake, muffins, ice cream- your options are endless with berry desserts. Don’t toss all of those overripe berries quite yet! Most desserts will taste fabulous from overripe berries because they are sweet and soft. This Blueberry Pie with a Heart-Healthy Crust is a crowd pleaser and uses simple, fresh ingredients. Feel free to use any berries you have on hand for this pie. Blueberries or strawberries make great muffins like these Zucchini Blueberry Muffins and Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buckwheat Muffins, while blackberries and raspberries can be blended into one of these 15 Dairy-Free Ice Creams. Dessert doesn’t have to be a guilty indulgence when you can use ripe summer berries in them!
Stuck with pints of berries and no idea what to do with them? Use one of these 10 fun ways to incorporate berries into nearly any dish. Summer is the perfect season for fresh and local ingredients that you wouldn’t want to waste a single one of these sweet bites! For more summer berry ideas check out these 26 Awesome Vegan Tarts and 25 Rich and Beautiful Vegan Recipes for Blueberry Lovers. Have you gone berry picking this summer? We would love to hear from you- what’s your favorite way to use up the last of your berries?
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Lead image source: Cherry Chocolate Pie