Summer Berries Are Everywhere: 5 Ways to Make Them Dazzle!

http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/summer-berries-are-everywhere-5-ways-to-make-them-dazzle.aspx

  

Whether you're feasting on homegrown fruit, raiding a neighbor's raspberry bush or shopping at your local Farmer's Market, berries are everywhere! Take your summertime berries to new heights! Below, 5 ways with berries you'll surely LOVE!

SMOOTHIES 

berry smoothie 

 Kids young and old love creamy sippers.  Plump berries get amped up in the blender with icy cold milk, vanilla ice cream or yogurt.  Cool off with Aaron McCargo Jr.'s Big Berry Smoothie made with luscious soy milk and yogurt.  Or try your own combinations for the perfect summer chiller!

 WINE  

berry wine 

 Most people might not think to make wine with their berries -- but what a stellar way to make that sweet flavor last! How about Wild Mixed Berry Wine or Blackberry Wine?

VINEGARS 

berry vinegar 

 Vinegars infused with ripe fruit are delicious and add a lovely, unexpected flavor to salads or vinegarettes.  Avoid expensive store-bought varieties and make your own with Taste of Beirut's easy-peasy Berry Vinegar.  Or, my personal favorite, a Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar made with basil and spicy peppercorns from Canadian Living

SORBET  

berry sorbet 

Yummy and easy to make -- ripe berries can be pureed and frozen into this cool treat.  Berry Orange Sorbet and Blueberry Sorbet are two recipes that will be added to my collection this season. 

FREE-FORM TARTS   

Finally, all the love of a traditional pie without the fuss.  Rich, all-butter pastry encloses juicy summer berries! Here, the recipe for our Rustic Blackberry Balsamic Tart:

 tart 

Liesl's Rustic Blackberry Balsamic Tart 

  • 2-3 pints of fresh or frozen blackberries 
  • 1/2 cup + sugar 
  •  1 1/2 tbsp flour 
  •  3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
  •  few knobs of butter 
  •  handful sliced or slivered almonds (toasted) 
  •  1 egg 
  •  zest of 1/2 an orange (or 1/2 tsp grated dried orange peel) 
  •  fresh whipped cream, for serving 
  •  1 recipe of homemade pastry of your choice 

Gently wash berries and put into a medium bowl.  to the berries add sugar and flour. mix gently. stir in balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt. now add dried or fresh orange zest. let berries sit to macerate while getting on with the pastry. 

 Take your pie dough and roll out on a floured board. don't worry about cracks or the way it looks. just roll it out until you think it looks like a large circular shape.  place pie dough onto a large sheet of parchment. your berries will be looking lustrous and divine now that they've sat for a while. give them another stir...and TASTE the syrup. does it need more balsamic or sugar? if you think it does, add some more to your liking!  

Pile all the berries and juices into the center of your pie dough. add a few knobs of butter. gently fold up the pastry to encase the berries...now you're feeling especially good about what you've created! egg wash the sides of the tart and sprinkle on toasted almonds and then a generous sprinkling of sugar. using the parchment to help you, transfer tart, while keeping parchment underneath, to a large baking tray. bake in a 375 degree oven until fragrant, golden and gorgeous--about 30 minutes or so. cool on a wire rack. garnish with a sprig of fresh herbs, if desired. serve with fresh whipped cream {a must!}. 

What's your favorite way to use up a berry surplus? 

Photos: Flickr/Quinn Anya, Green Colander, Girl Interrupted Eating, Joyosity and Liesl + Myles Petersen 

Liesl and Myles are from Alberta, Canada.  For more photos and tips on the Blackberry Tart, see Liesl and Myles over at Nest.