Welcome to another Seasonal Recipe Round-Up! This time we're featuring berries (and next time are tomatoes — see schedule below). I'm sharing my tips about berries and you can participate by sharing your own tips and/or recipes in the comments.
What are Berries?
Need you ask? Raspberries, marionberries, huckleberries, blackberries, blueberries, chokecherries… tons and tons of berries out there. Which grow in your region? When I lived in Idaho as a child, we picked wild chokecherries. In Montana for most of my young life, we picked huckleberries (always keeping an eye out for bears!). And here in Oregon, wild blackberries are the name of the game, though many others are cultivated and grow quite well.
No matter which kind, we all <3 berries, don't we?
How to Choose and Use Berries
Ripe berries are deeply colored and usually roll or fall off the bush when gently encouraged. Mushy berries are too far gone, and green berries are not ready yet. It is pretty simple. Chill unwashed berries, and rinse just before use (if they need rinsing at all). Berries in the wild are wonderful, while many areas offer U-pick farms. Try to find a U-pick that doesn't use pesticides or chemicals.
Berries are suited to fresh eating, smoothies, jams, cobblers and pies, fermenting (like these preserves), dehydrating (whole or fruit leathers). This season, I've eaten lots of fresh berries with yogurt and honey, and I've also experimented with drying them. The raspberries and marionberries I got this year did not have many seeds, so they actually turned out pretty well when dried. A burst of sweet and crunchy.
When I dried blueberries, I found out that our large, thicker-skinned blueberries were a pain to dehydrate. Though I liked the end result, some of them took over a week in the dehydrator to dry out fully. I put them in without doing anything to break the skin, then realized that nothing was going to happen if I didn't. You see, the skin acts as a barrier to the air and heat drying out the inside of the berries. There are ways to “check” the skin — by blanching or by pricking the skin with a pin. After a day or so, we pricked the skins, but some of the berries still took more than a week to dry. It was a lesson learned. I'm not sure I'll do that again.
Fresh berries should be chilled and eaten with days of being picked. A week in the fridge is pushing it. They can be frozen whole and fresh and will be good for three months, at which point freezer burn starts affecting the taste. You can vacuum seal to prevent freezer burn and keep berries frozen for a year and maybe longer. Dehydrated berries can be stored in air-tight containers, frozen, or vacuum sealed.
My Berry Recipes
Here are some of the berry recipes I've shared on this blog.
Lemon-Blueberry Whole Grain Muffins (can be GAPS-friendly or grain-free, too).
Now it is your turn!
How to Participate in the Seasonal Recipe Round-Up
Bloggers and non-bloggers, feel free to add a comment here with your favorite recipes or posts.
Please use real, whole ingredients in recipes, and preferably traditional methods of preparation. Whole ingredients means whole grains, vegetables, legumes, meats, and unrefined sweeteners. In order to keep the integrity of “nourishing” food, I will delete any recipes that use processed, boxed foods. Where possible, incorporate traditional methods of preparation, like soaking, sprouting and fermenting. The idea here is that your recipes and tips should help our readers find traditional methods for preparing seasonal vegetables.
Share Your Berry Recipes and Tips!
Seasonal Recipe Round-Up Schedule: July through August
Remember, the round-ups don't close — you can add your recipes at any time. And I hope you will!
- Friday, July 6, 2012 — Snap Peas
- Friday, July 20, 2012 — Cucumbers
- Friday, August 3, 2012 — Berries
- Friday, August 17, 2012 — Tomatoes
- Friday, August 31, 2012 — Squash
All seasonal recipe round-ups are (and will be) listed on the Recipes page.
Come back on Friday, August 17 for our tomatoes link-up in the Seasonal Recipe Round-Up.
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