National Berry Month

July is National Berry Month and the perfect time to start incorporating berries into your daily routine. There are dozens of varieties of berries, but the most popular by far are strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Berries pack a nutritious punch in each bite, loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A cup of strawberries provides over 100% of the recommended Dietary Intake of vitamin C. A cup of blackberries offers almost 1/3 of the recommended daily fiber. With about 50 calories of nutrition per cup of mixed berries, this delicious fruit is a win-win!

When purchasing fresh berries, look for firm, plump and brightly colored fruit. Before preparing or eating, wash under clean, running water and let them dry. Consume right away or store in the refrigerator. For maximum flavor and freshness, use within 1-3 days. 

If you find yourself with an excessive number of berries, the fruit can easily be frozen. 

  • Simply rinse berries under cold water and pat them dry with a clean towel. Remove any stems or leaves and toss any that appear spoiled. 
  • To prevent berries from sticking together, spread the berries out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place in the freezer. 
  • Once frozen solid, put them in a freezer safe bag or container. Label and date the berries before returning to the freezer where they can be stored for 6-8 months.

It is easy to include berries in your diet. Frozen berries are perfect for smoothies, sauces, baking, making jams and jellies and so much more. Try adding berries to yogurt or cereal in the morning. Sprinkle some berries on a salad or enjoy a cup of berries for dessert. 

Fresh Berry Ideas: 

  • For a first course of a healthy dessert, this colorful Summer Berry Fruit Salad includes a variety of berries mixed in with grapes and kiwi, topped off with lime zest and mint for a lively flavor boost. 
  • This guilt-free Peach and Blueberry Crisp uses fresh or frozen blueberries. Sweet and crunchy, this delicious crisp loaded with fruit can be served for breakfast or dessert.
  • Whip up this Strawberry Almond Smoothie filled to the brim with juicy strawberries, creamy almond milk and protein-packed almond butter. With just seven healthy ingredients, indulge in the guilt-free treat.
  • Celebrate the season with this patriotic Red, White and Blue Mocktail. This alcohol free, low sugar frozen treat is a mixture of bananas and pineapple between layers of strawberries and blueberries for refreshing indulgence.
  • Make a Raspberry Sorbet or substitute raspberries out for your favorite berry. Start by pureeing the fruit and adjust the sugar in the recipe as needed. This sorbet can be kept covered and frozen for up to 3 weeks. 
  • This Strawberry Avocado Salsa is a winning combination between the heart heathy avocado and sweet strawberries. Serve as a salsa dip with baked tortilla chips or use the salsa to complement grilled fish.
  • For a summertime variation, don’t miss this Wild Berry Salad with Chocolate Dressing. This colorful salad is drizzled with a chocolate balsamic dressing for a sweet and tart touch of flavor. Or make this simple but elegant Fresh Spinach Salad with Raspberries topped off with a honey, poppy seed dressing. 
  • For a great breakfast or brunch or a quick snack, whip up a batch of these Lemon Raspberry Muffins. Double up on the recipe, wrap them individually and freeze so these muffins are waiting for you when the craving calls. 
  • Sure, kids love peanut butter sandwiches. But, what about a Peanut Butter and Berry Sandwich?  This little tweak will add some interest for the kids at the lunch table. Adults love the berry version too!

Have some fun with berries this month. 

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