Summertime is Berrytime
When the hot days of summer hit, these small bites of juicy sweetness are a perfect pick-me-up.
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.
Handle With Care
Tips on how to choose, handle and store these delicate beauties:
- 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. 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.
- Berries don't ripen further once they're picked. Choose berries that are fragrant and deeply colored. Avoid bruised, wrinkled or moldy fruit.
- If you wish to make smooth, seed-free sauces, purées and jams, consider investing in a food mill. These hand-cranked sieves give you perfect pulp, leaving the skins and seeds behind.
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.
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.