Berries are chock-full of vitamins, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, while at the same time providing a taste that is far superior to any multi-vitamin or supplement that you can purchase at your local healthy food store. Researchers have revealed that berries may protect against cancer and heart disease, prevent memory loss, lower blood pressure levels, improve immune function, and help to slow down the aging process.
Picking the Best Berries
- Look for berries that are ripe, firm, and dark in color, as darker varieties boast higher concentrations of antioxidants, which help to decrease inflammation in the body.
- Fresh organic berries are best, followed by conventional fresh berries, then frozen berries.
- Watch out for added sugar that may be added to dried berries.
- Mold that grows on berries is known to spread very quickly. If you see one molded berry expect the rest to follow within 1-2 days.
Wait to rinse your berries until immediately before serving to prevent spoilage.
At Cafe Daireds we look at using healthy ingredients, such as berries and adding them to less conventional recipes. Here are two great examples of how to use berries in a new and interesting way.
#1: Bulgur and Berries
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup bulgur, dry
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 oz roasted pine nuts
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1 pint raspberries
- 4 bibb lettuce cups
- 4 Tbsp vanilla yogur
Place bulgur in bowl. Boil 1 ½ cups water and pour over bulgur. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let sit 20-25 minutes. In a saucepan over medium heat, dissolve sugar in water and toss berries until slightly softened and coated. Mix together bulgur, pine nuts, and berries. Place mixture in lettuce cup and top with a dollop of yogurt.
296 calories, 6 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 12 grams fiber
#2 Blackberry Sorbet
- 4 cups blackberries
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
Place fruit and lemon juice in food processor and process until smooth. Combine sugar and water and boil to make simple syrup. Pour simple syrup gradually into berry mixture and process to blend evenly. Taste for sweetness and adjust if necessary.
Transfer to a medium sized metal bowl and cover with plastic. Place in freezer about 4 hours or until ice forms around the edges but center is “mushy”. Process in food processor until completely blended, smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. Immediately scrape the mixture into a plastic freezer container and re-freeze for 4-10 hours. Let soften at room temp about 15 minutes before serving.
187 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 3 grams fiber
photo by: anshu_si