Sweeten this Summer with Berries

Sweet or savory? Berries make a great addition to a variety of recipes that you can make throughout the day with the whole family. Naturally sweeten your summer snacks and meals with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries in breakfasts, drinks, desserts, lunches, and dinners.

In Northern California, berries are grown and harvested throughout the summer months. This includes:

  • Raspberry harvest primarily during May – September/October
  • Blackberry harvest from late July – September
  • Blueberry harvest in May – early August
  • Strawberry harvest throughout June – August

Eating a variety of colorful fruits, such as berries, and vegetables throughout the day and in all forms – fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice - count toward your daily amounts. For reference, a ½ cup of berries is about one cupped handful. Berries are packed with nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and phytochemicals, which function as antioxidants. Additionally, strawberries are a source of folate, which is important for cell growth and metabolism. Berries are sure to provide a burst of refreshing flavor to your next meal or snack this summer!

Listed below are several ways you and your family can prepare berries into your summer meals and snacks. Experiment with a variety of berries, and discover your favorite cooking method, while also brightening up your recipes with these colorful fruits!

  • Reimagine your drinks: Stay hydrated this summer, while also being cautious of your added sugar intake by adding a refreshing fruit flavor to your drinks with berries.  Add frozen mixed berries to a pitcher of still or sparkling water for a blast of fruit flavor; slices of fresh strawberries or blueberries to freshly squeezed lemonade; a handful of blackberries to your favorite unsweetened iced black tea; or frozen raspberries, mango chunks, and 100% orange juice to make a healthy smoothie. For more fruit inspiration to add to your next healthy drink, check out this flyer from CalFresh Healthy Living.
  • Wake up to a berry-filled breakfast: Breakfast foods can serve as a vehicle to add more fruits, such as berries, into your family’s meals. Brighten up your everyday morning routine by topping your whole grain cereal, oatmeal, chia or rice pudding, cream of wheat, grits, or yogurt with your favorite berry. Another great addition that is sure to brighten up your plate is spreading a toaster waffle or pancake with a low sugar berry jam or jelly, such as raspberry, or favorite seed and nut butter with sliced strawberries on top.
  • Add pops of color to salads and salsas:  Add the flavors of summer to your salads and salsas! Try adding a mango strawberry salsa to your fish taco night or a blackberry and carrot coleslaw to your cookout. For additional recipe inspirations when tossing together a quick salad for dinner or lunch read this CNS Blog Post.
  • Mix it up with breads and muffins: Make your breads and muffins anything but ordinary by adding berries into your batter. Adding summer berries can help keep your sweet treat moist and flavorful, while also adding more nutrients listed above. For your next baking adventure, try making a triple berry (blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries) banana bread or healthy blueberry muffins made with whole-wheat flour. Read more on this CNS Blog Post for more healthy baking alternatives.
  • Blend in something new to your sauces: Add a new twist to your cooking sauces and dressings with summer berries, like creating a strawberry honey vinaigrette for salads; a blueberry balsamic glaze for salmon; a blackberry reduction sauce to pair perfectly with a pork chop or firm tofu; or a raspberry mole and chimichurri with chicken.  

Visit the Harvest of the Month’s website on berries and strawberries for extra information and recipes!

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