Crave America

The Dish On: All Things Berry

10+ recipes, picking tips, storage advice, and more!

Summertime is berry time. As part of our seasonal food highlights, we’re taking a moment to focus on berries. While strawberry season is sadly winding down, your other fruit favorites are just arriving. Be prepared for this joyous season of superfruit splendor. All you need to know about berry season is right here.

 

Picking

Thompson Strawberry Farm in Wisconsin.

If you’ve decided to pick your own berries (and you should!), kudos to you!

You’ve forgone the convenient, yet questionable freshness of grocery store produce for a more homegrown selection. So go on – lace up those old sneakers, slather on the sunscreen, and head over to a pick-your-own farm. (TIP: Pick-Your-Own is a great source for finding local farms near you!) The berries will taste better after all that hard work anyways…right? Here’s some need-to-know information about picking your favorite berries this summer:

In general, berries are better-picked earlier in the day before the heat over-ripens them. When it comes to judging the ripeness of fruit, your senses are your friend. In the case of berries, color is a pretty good indicator – the brighter and deeper the color, the better! For stone-filled fruit like cherries and peaches, feel is also a factor. Softness and weight are good clues here.

 

Blackberries

  • Peak Season: June-August
  • What to look for: softer and falls off easily.

Blueberries

  • Peak Season: June-August
  • What to look for: uniform in color, brighter blue, and falls off easily

Cherries

  • Peak Season: June-July
  • What to look for: heavier, firm, and skin is somewhat shiny

Peaches

  • Peak Season: July-September
  • What to look for: easily separates from the stem, color changes from greenish to yellow. For yellow varieties: look for orange tint. For white varieties: look for yellow-white.

Raspberries

  • Peak Season: July-October (Summer and Fall varieties)
  • What to look for: plump and falls off easily

Strawberries

  • Peak Season: May-June
  • What to look for: firm and as red as possible! If mostly red, they will continue to ripen after picked. Under half red, will not ripen much afterwards.

For more in-depth information, check out these tips.

 

Storage

blueberry_storageWith all the fruits of your labor (pun intended), now what? If you’re not using them immediately, store or freeze them! Berries keep for months when frozen, and when stored properly can last weeks in the fridge. From rinsing in vinegar to storing in special containers, there is much debate over the most effective method for making berries last.

Consensus seems to be on one point, however: berries like it cold and dry. This cannot be stressed enough. Heat and moisture = bacteria, mush and mold.

Many recommend leaving berries unwashed until consumption, stored in a cool, dry place, to avoid these issues. If you do rinse the berries, make sure to dry them thoroughly before storing them in a loosely-sealed container lined with paper towel and plenty of berry breathing room.

For more tips and tricks, check out this article.

 

Recipes & Inspiration

While great as a stand-alone snack, berries are versatile, and their sweet-and-tartness can be a great complement to just about any recipe.

Quick & Easy Ideas

  • Dip in dark chocolate and freeze for a healthier treat!
  • Freeze and use as ice cubes for your favorite cold drink
  • Mix in yogurt and freeze for a delicious frozen yogurt, or make into a sorbet – see recipes below!
  • Mix into your favorite pancake or waffle mix
    • Bonus: make into a jam or syrup – use this easy recipe!
  • blend with yogurt or almond milk and ice for a great smoothie
  • Layer on yogurt and granola for BYO parfaits

 

Favorite Berry Recipes

Beauty&Beet_BerryIcedTea

Berry Bliss Iced Tea

Inspired by Starbuck’s Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher, this recipe has antioxidants, is refreshingly sweet and tart, and has enough caffeine to get you through the day.

Prepared green and hibiscus tea, a bit of sugar and ginger, ice cold water, mixed berries. Let chill for an hour for flavors to blend.

 

SlowRoasted_BerrySangriaA blast in a glass: Summer Berry Sangria

Sangria in the summer needs no introduction. The berries in this drink do all the talking.

Your favorite moscato wines, a bit of sugar, lemon slices, and a TON of fresh berries

BONUS non-alcoholic version: substitute the wine for sparkling grape juice or regular juice and 7-up

 

 

DomesticateMe_SmoothieBowlThe super smoothie: Vegan Berry Smoothie Bowl

Just when you thought smoothies couldn’t get better – you’re in for a treat. Easy to make, packed with nutrients, and tantalizingly tasty!

For the smoothie: frozen berries, almond milk, and agave nectar/honey. Top with fresh berries, granola, chia seeds, almonds, and coconut shavings.

 

 

Sallys_BerryCrostiniThe “berriest” simple snack: Cheese and Fruit Crostini

A snack, an appetizer…we could eat this all day! Crunchy, sweet, savory – this dish has it all! You need no occasion for this flavorful crostini creation.

Crostini (toasted slices of baguette or even use your favorite cracker – the key is in the crunch factor! Top with a soft & spreadable cheese like goat cheese or brie, drizzle on honey, and garnish with a few berries. For added flavor pizzazz, drizzle some balsamic glaze

 

Sallys_YogurtPopsiclesPut the “pop” in popsicles: 3-Ingredient Yogurt Popsicles

Popsicles and summer. Berries and summer. Both go hand in hand…why not unite the two? The simplest summer frozen treat! Blended blueberries mixed into greek yogurt and honey or agave nectar. Freeze in a popsicle mold and BAM. Summer on a stick. For a non-dairy sorbet version – follow these tips by The Kitchn!

 

 

 

TwoPeas_BerryQuinoaSaladSensational in salads: Berry Quinoa Salad

The perfect summer side dish can also make a great breakfast or healthy snack!

Mix cooked quinoa, mixed berries (fresh of course), chopped almonds, finely-chopped basil and mint leaves, and drizzle with this to-die-for “Citrus-Honey” dressing.

 

 

AppleEye_BakedOatmealOats with the most: Baked Berry Oatmeal

Even if you’re not the biggest oatmeal fan, you’ll love this. It’s perfect on-the-go breakfast, or if you need a little afternoon pick-me-up.

Layers upon layers of a mixture of oats, cinnamon, & brown sugar with milk, honey, vanilla, your favorite berries, and chopped pecans. Good morning, breakfast.

 

 

CRAVE-ing More?

LoveLemons_BerryCollectionCheck out this “berry” delicious collection of recipes by food blog Love & Lemons!

  • Muffins
  • Salsas
  • Crostinis
  • Salads
  • Ice cream
  • And more of your favorite berry-filled dishes!