In the height of the season, fresh local berries pack not only sweet, juicy flavour but also a nutritional wallop. They scream summer with their brilliant colours and juicy parts and, when frozen at their peak, bring immense pleasure to your table all year round.
From wild to cultivated, berries are the nutritional darling in one’s diet. There are dozens of reasons why. Rich in antioxidants and loaded with fibre, vitamins, and minerals, they provide an abundance of nutrition for all sorts of health-boosting needs. And they’re local!
In our collection of berry beautiful recipes, you can easily substitute with any type of berry that might be more available in your own region. That’s the beauty of berries. They’re beautiful, delicious, and versatile. And every morsel so good for you! Indulge and preserve the extras if you have any left.
Easy-Peasy Hot Cakes with Glossy Berry Compote
Cottage cheese, large flaked oatmeal, and eggs blended together is the simplest trio for fluffy golden cakes. Top with a glossy berry compote. This is such an easy recipe—and a great start to any summer day!
Roasted Berry Salsa Tumbled over Crusted Chicken Breasts
This refreshing take on salsa has just the right ingredients to make it delicious served with any dish. We’ve developed it for crusted chicken, but it’s equally delicious tumbled over cedar-planked salmon, pan-fried paneer, or on thick grilled slices of butternut squash.
Glazed Bumbleberry Pie in Coconut Hazelnut Crust with Lemon Yogurt Drizzle
This delightful tart is filled to the brim with “bumbleberries.” Not to mislead, though: there is no such thing as a bumbleberry. It’s actually a mixture of fruits and berries that some suggest originated in the Maritimes. In our version, we’ve combined blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. But any mixture will do. Enjoy this summertime treat!
Grilled Greens with Warm Blackberries in White Balsamic Dressing
The fusion of sweet, salty, and tart is an explosion of the senses. When prolific blackberries are in season, there is an unlimited collection of dessert recipes. We’ve taken this to a new level by marrying it with a salad and studding it with crumbled feta and toasted pine nuts. Sweet. Savoury. Nutty. Yummy!
Fruit buckles are a quintessential old-fashioned favourite. We’ve produced a more rustic version of the old classic using oats and oat flour but with all the familiar flavours. Cut the buckle into squares and top with a generous scoop of your favourite vanilla ice cream or alternative.
Delicious Chia Fruit Jam
No berry story is complete without a reminder about how to make easy jam in minutes. Chia Fruit Jam to the rescue. The rich berry taste isn’t trivialized by massive amounts of sugar, thanks to the chia seeds that give body and thickness. Furthermore, you can use either fresh or frozen fruit to whip this goodie up in minutes. In our recipe, we suggest adding a little honey or maple syrup for sweetening.
With berry season at its peak, it’s a good time to freeze them so there are plenty on hand to enjoy once the season is over. All you need are ripe but firm berries, a rimmed baking sheet, parchment paper, and freezer bags or containers. Here are some other easy tips.
- Pick through your berries, making sure they’re evenly ripe and not damaged.
- Rinse carefully in a colander and spread out in a single layer on clean, dry kitchen cloth or paper towelling. Gently pat dry, removing excess moisture. Remove hulls from strawberries and stems from other berries, if still intact.
- Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Place berries in a single layer overtop.
- Place baking sheet in freezer for several hours, or preferably overnight.
- Transfer berries to freezer bags or storage containers.
- Store berries in freezer until ready to use.
- Freeze for up to six months.
Irene McGuinness is a passionate food writer, editor, and food stylist living on a small farm outside of Vancouver. When not writing, she nurtures animals and tends to her extensive garden. Her work appears in a variety of Canadian, US, and Australian magazines.
This article was originally published in the August 2020 issue of alive Canada magazine, under the title “Berry berry beautiful.”