Berry Recipes: Life's A Bowl Of Berries

Make the most of your harvest of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries with these recipes and tips for buying and freezing berries.

| June/July 1992

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    Fresh berries are plentiful for only a few short weeks in the summer, but fortunately they freeze well and many recipes work just as well, or even better, with frozen berries.
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    Blueberry crisp needs only a touch of unsweetened whipped cream.

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Oh, those lazy days of summer—sand-filled Saturdays at the beach, snoozing in your favorite lawn chair between the pages of last winter's magazines. And massive berry consumption during those few short weeks that we dream about in January while shoveling out the car.

Those heavenly berries are the high point of my summers. Since I don't look forward to getting burnt to a crisp, I stay away from the beach on Saturday and head out early to the farmer's market. A vast variety of fresh-picked berries are awaiting my arrival. I always buy more than we could possibly consume, but I'm always afraid that my supply will run out before next Saturday. By about the following Wednesday, no one at my house wants to look at another berry (except me) and my son has gone back to eating raisins on his cereal, which makes me wonder if he's in any way related to me.

Though some of us are perfectly happy enjoying as many berries as possible in their natural state, the appeal of berry recipes—desserts,  sauces, crisps and shakes—is hard to deny. And while it might seem hard to pass up eating your entire harvest in the summer, freezing berries for the winter can help perk up those cold mornings. Any of these recipes will work well with fresh or frozen berries.

Freezing Berries

You'll pat yourself on the back next winter when you have nothing else to look forward to but bad weather—all the recipes here work just as well with frozen berries. So what if you don't own a deep freeze? (Although I highly recommend it as a good investment.) Get rid of those frozen waffles—which you can buy any time—and there'll be plenty of berry room.

Berry Buyer's Guide

When selecting your berries, remember that bigger doesn't necessarily mean better. Big strawberries are beautiful but can have a pulpy texture. I prefer the sweetness and texture of the smaller ones. Berries are as ripe as they'll ever be the moment they're picked. After that, they deteriorate rapidly, so it's important to choose fresh berries. Store uncovered, and do not wash the berries until your are ready to use them.

Blueberries: Choose berries that appear plump, unwrinkled, and uniformly blue in color. They should have a powdery look, called "bloom," which is a sign of freshness. The bloom fades as the berries age.

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