Hooray, berry season is upon us!
They’re everywhere right now – raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and boysenberries. For many Kiwis, tucking into that first punnet of the season brings memories of Christmas, holidays and picnics. When you’re surrounded by roadside fruit stalls or ‘PYO’ berry farms, it’s hard not to get excited about the summer ahead.
Berries are known for their extraordinary antioxidant content. They may be small in size, but are rich in vitamins and minerals and low in energy (kJ). Using berries is a great way to sweeten food naturally and brighten a dish with beautiful shades of red and purple.
Here are some of our favourite ways to enjoy these tasty treats from Mother Nature:
- ‘Au naturale’: Eat berries simply on their own to experience the different taste and texture each variety has to offer. Berries are easy for kids to pick up with their fingers making them an ideal bite-sized snack.
- Sprinkle on salads. Strawberries, leafy greens or beans, fresh herbs and a balsamic dressing are a great flavour combo. The contrasting red and green colours make this dish perfect for Christmas celebrations.
- Top your breakfast: Breakfast cereals can be high in sugar, so it’s important to read the nutrition label. Choose a cereal with less sugar, saturated fat and sodium like wheat biscuits, bran flakes or rolled oats. Top with milk and/or yoghurt then sweeten with berries.
- Blitz: Everyone loves a good smoothie. They are quick to whip up and a great way of getting more fruit and veggies into kids. Experiment with different seasonal fruit to find your favourite combination. Looking for a recipe to get you started? Try this Berry-licious smoothie.
- Make ice blocks: Add berries to natural yoghurt, pour into ice-block moulds and freeze. These will go down a treat on a hot day!
- Freshly-picked: Strawberry plants are easy to come by and a great activity to do with children. For a fun family activity, visit a local berry farm and pick-your-own by the bucketful. Once picked, berries won’t ripen further and they perish quickly, so share among friends or store any you aren't going to eat at once in the fridge or freezer for later use.
- Add to baking: Looking for a way to use over-ripe fruit? Add berries to baking or desserts to create natural colour and sweetness. This means you can generally cut back on the amount of sugar used too. Some of our favourite recipes include Gluten-free berry muffins, Flourless banana and berry slice and Blancmange with berries.
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The Fuelled4life team.