Happy Summer!

Since Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off to summer, I thought I'd celebrate one of my favorite foods of the season: fresh berries! Besides being delicious, fresh berries are packed with antioxidants and lots of fiber, which will help you keep that tummy looking flatter when you're lying by the beach.

The downside of fresh berries: they tend to go mushy and moldy pretty quickly. I read a great tip to slow down this process in the July/August edition of Cook's Illustrated:

  1. Wash the berries in a bowl with 3 parts water and 1 part white vinegar.
  2. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water.
  3. Place berries in a salad spinner lined with three layers of paper towels and spin until dry.
  4. Store in a loosely covered paper-towel lined container.
The vinegar solution destroys bacteria and mold spores and drying the berries thoroughly will prevent them from getting too mushy too fast.

If you don't have time to follow these steps, keep the following pointers in mind: wait to wash berries until just before you use them and store in the front of the fridge where temperatures are a bit warmer (berries are sensitive to chill injury). If you find them getting mushy, line a baking sheet with wax paper and add the berries in a single layer. Place the baking sheet in a freezer for 12 -24 hours, then store your frozen berries in a plastic bag. Throw them into a smoothie or pull a few out as needed to add to yogurt for a quick and healthy dessert.

I love adding berries to kick up salads or using them as the main focus for a healthy dessert. Here are a couple of great recipes to kick off the berry season:

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Vicki said...

Great tip! I'm notorious for buying fruit that goes bad before I ever eat it. This is great - hopefully that won't happen to me anymore!

I like to put fresh berries in plain or vanilla yogurt for breakfast or eat a few berries with a few (tiny) pieces of dark chocolate for dessert. That way I get a little fiber and a lot of flavor!

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