Press-Republican

Columns

June 26, 2012

Berry season under way

If you enjoy berries, start looking for fresh, locally grown varieties now. 

Strawberries, as well as some raspberries, are ripening at orchards and in the wild. Blueberries and blackberries will follow a little later this summer.

Strawberries are delicious in smoothies, as a cereal topping and in countless other ways. Eight medium strawberries have 50 calories, 2 grams of fiber (11 grams of carbohydrates) and 160 percent of the daily value of vitamin C.

Blueberries paired with peanut butter in a sandwich or added to pancakes are a great snack. One cup of blueberries has 100 calories and 3 grams of fiber. They are said to be very high in antioxidants, which reduce your risk for certain cancers and heart disease.

Raspberries come in a variety of colors, often red, but also black and gold. One cup of the fruit contains 50 calories, 8 grams of fiber and 40 percent daily value of vitamin C.

Blackberries differ from raspberries, both in taste and firmness. They have 60 calories per cup, 7 grams of fiber and 50 percent daily value of vitamin C.

If you know of spots where these fruits grow in the wild, you’re in luck, as they will be free. Wild fruit tends to be smaller but packs a big flavor. 

If you would like to pick but do not have access to wild berries, the area offers some wonderful pick-your-own operations where the fruit is plentiful and the picking is easy. Even just an hour will yield more berries than you can eat fresh. 

Or, if you would like to just get to eating, visit farm stands and farmers markets for the goods.

HANDLING AND STORING

Once berries are picked, they should be refrigerated, as they will spoil quickly. Don’t rinse them until just before use, since the water can cause them to become mushy if left to sit. 

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