Everything You Need to Know About Fresh Summer Berries
Learn all about different types of summer berries, including how to buy, store, and eat them.
Not only are berries bursting with flavor, they are also full of fiber, vitamin C and phytochemicals, which may deactivate potential carcinogens. And be glad for what berries are not full of: they are fat-free, low in sodium and nearly calorie-free. Read on to learn about different types of summer berries.
How to Choose and Store Fresh Berries
- Choose berries that are fragrant and deeply colored. Avoid bruised, wrinkled or moldy fruit. Note that berries don't ripen further once they're picked.
- Most berries should be eaten right away. Store in a single layer in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- Do not wash berries until you're ready to use them. Rinse with cold water and gently blot dry just before using. Wash strawberries with the hull on, then hull and slice them.
- Freeze berries by arranging in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a plastic freezer bag or container to enjoy throughout the year.
Get to Know Summertime Berries
These are just a few of the edible berries you can find in the marketplace.
Cultivated blueberries comprise the majority of blueberries on the market. Blueberry season is from May to early October. Choose berries that are firm, uniform in size and colored an indigo blue with a bit of a silver frost. Blueberries can be stored for up to five days.
These berries offer the most fiber of all the berries--one serving of blackberries contains more fiber than a serving of bran cereal. When selecting blackberries, remember, "The blacker the berry, the sweeter the fruit."
Raspberries come in a variety of colors. Whether black, golden or red, raspberries are an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C. These are fragile berries, however, so handle them with great care.
A yellow version of red raspberries, these have a mild, sweet flavor. They play nicely wherever red raspberries do, such as in desserts, salads, and syrups.
Strawberries are a member of the rose family. The hardiest berry, strawberries can withstand shipping and storage. For the best flavor, avoid strawberries with white tops or uneven coloring.
Also known as Cape gooseberries, these South American delights are yellow-orange in color and have a sweet, slightly citrusy, slightly vegetal flavor, similar to a cherry tomato. They’ve been cropping up more widely in American supermarkets. Try them as a snack or as a surprising addition to salads or cheese boards.
Created by crossing European blackberries and raspberries with American dewberries and loganberries, these resemble large blackberries and have a sweet-tart taste and beautiful deep purple color. They are terrific in jams and pies.
These sweet elongated berries, which look a bit like blackberries and can be used similarly, come in black, red, and white varieties. They have been touted of late as a superfood, since in addition to antioxidants and vitamin C, they contain unusually high levels of iron and protein for a fruit.
Sizing Up Berry Containers
The plastic clamshell berry containers you find at the store vary both in size and by weight, depending on the berry. The most common containers hold 4 to 6 oz. (small) or 11 to 16 oz. (large), depending on the berry.
Typically, you get 1 cup sliced strawberries or 1 cup whole other berries for every 4 to 5 oz. of fruit.
Here are some equivalents for common container sizes:
6-oz. container = about 11/4 cups
4.4-oz. container = 1 cup
“dry pint” container = about 11 oz. or about 21/2 cups
Raspberries, Golden Raspberries, and Goldenberries
6-oz. container = about 11/4 cups
5-oz. container = about 1 cup, hulled and sliced
16-oz. container = 3 cups, hulled and sliced
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