As the weather continues to heat up this summer season, so we are all reminded that it’s officially berry season! Here in Ontario, local berries are ripe for the picking. Whether purchased from your local farmer’s market, on sale at the grocery store or picked fresh by hand yourself, berries are a refreshing way to enjoy the summer.
There are many varieties of berries grown in Ontario including but not limited to blueberries, strawberries, black current, raspberries, and blackberries. Berries contain a wonderful nutrient profile, including being a source of:
· Fiber – helps to regular bowel movements and provides fuel for your colon cells keeping them healthy.
· Antioxidants – protects your cells from damage.
· Vitamin C – needed for the growth and repair of tissues all over the body.
[ DID YOU KNOW? There are many local farms in the Greater Toronto Area that will allow you to go berry picking yourself for a fee. Make berry picking a family event while enjoying the outdoors. ]
As berries can be eaten fresh or used from frozen, there are many great ways to incorporate berries into your diet; try:
· Putting berries in yogurt or cottage cheese to make a healthy breakfast or snack
· Adding berries to your water to enhance the flavour
· Making a summertime berry pie
· Using berries as a salad topper
· Combining berries with other ingredients to make a delicious smoothie
· Creating a fresh fruit salad highlighting berries
· Making homemade jam or jelly
Easy and Quick Yogurt Parfait
· 2 to 3 cups berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and/or blackberries)
· 4 cups plain yogurt
· Granola or plain oats
1) Spoon a layer of yogurt into 4 individual bowls or containers.
2) Add a layer of berries and sprinkle a layer of granola.
3) Repeat steps 1 and 2 once or twice more, ending with a layer of granola.
4) Serve immediately, or keep in the fridge for up to three days.
Yogurt Blueberry Popsicles
2 cups blueberries
2 Tablespoons honey
2 cups vanilla Greek yogurt (or any flavor)
1. Blend blueberries in a food processor or blender on high speed until nearly liquified into a smoothie-like consistency.
2. Pour the thick blueberry liquid into a large bowl. Stir in honey. Add the yogurt and very gently mix everything together. The mixture will be thick. Taste it. If you want it sweeter, you can add a little more honey.
3. Pour mixture evenly into each popsicle mold. If your popsicle mold has slots for sticks, you can insert them before freezing – if not, freeze for 2 hours, then put a wooden popsicle stick in the middle. Continue to freeze for an additional 4-6 hours or overnight.
4. Run popsicle molds under warm water to easily remove. Eat on a hot day. Enjoy!
Summer Berry Crisp
· 2 cups blueberries
· 2 cups blackberries
· 2 cups raspberries
· 1/4 cup sugar
· 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
· 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
· 1 cup rolled or whole oats
· 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
· 1/2 cup brown sugar
· 1/2 cup sugar
· Pinch of salt
· 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
· Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter or oil a 9-inch pie plate.
2. Gently combine the berries with the sugar, flour, and cinnamon; place in the prepared pie plate.
3. Prepare the topping: Combine the oats, flour, both sugars and salt in a bowl. Use a pastry blender or 2 knives to work in the butter until topping resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle evenly over the berries.
4. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Bake in the center of the oven until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 1 hour. Remove the crisp to a rack to cool slightly.
5. Serve in dessert bowls with whipped cream or ice cream.
Slammin’ Strawberry Smoothie
· 8 strawberries, hulled
· ½ cup milk
· ½ cup plain yogurt
· 3 tablespoons white sugar
· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
· 6 cubes ice, crushed
In a blender combine strawberries, milk, yogurt, sugar, and vanilla. Toss in the ice. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into glasses and serve.