Who doesn’t love freshly picked berries? Whether they’re blended into a fruit smoothie, scattered on top of a summer salad or popped in your mouth by the handful, berries are colorful, naturally sweet and exceptionally nutritious.
Blueberries, in particular, top the chart for their nutrition benefits. Loaded with antioxidants, vitamins C and E, potassium, calcium and fiber, they can fill you up, nourish and protect your body and satisfy a sweet tooth–without any added sugar.
Other, less-common berries such as acai, camu camu and goji follow closely behind. Considered superfoods, all three are packed with vitamins and minerals, along with carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene. These exotic fruits also have a long history of use in natural and alternative health practices around the world, relied on to support many different areas of health.
How to pick the best berries
Variety is always the best approach when trying to incorporate more berries into your diet. Vary your selections each time you shop, and keep these tips in mind when picking up a carton:
- Buy locally grown, in-season berries whenever possible.
- Select berries that are vibrantly colored, taut and shiny. Dull or wrinkled skin can be a sign that berries are past their prime.
- Check the bottom of the carton to make sure there isn’t leakage from damaged berries that may be hidden. It only takes one rotten berry to spoil the bunch!
- If you’re shopping at a farmer’s market, ask to sample one or two berries before buying; there’s no better way to know exactly what you’re getting than to have a taste!
- Once you get home, store berries properly by keeping them refrigerated and washing them right before eating. While it may seem like a time-saver to wash them in advance, small droplets of water, which remains on the berries, can easily cause premature spoilage.
Berry good ways to enjoy berries
- Add a handful of berries to a mixed greens salad, along with your favorite grilled fish and sliced avocado with lemon.
- Freeze berries and try making my Blueberry Summer Smoothie
- Puree berries with a bit of basil and a touch of honey to make a light summer topping to accompany your coconut sorbet.
- Add a surprise twist to a seared salmon by including some fresh berries to create a delicious pan-jus (recipe below!).
- Eat them just as they are; you can’t go wrong and sometimes simple is best!
Pan Seared Salmon with Blueberry Reduction
4 (6-oz.) wild salmon fillets, skin on
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
¼ cup natural chicken broth
¼ cup dry white wine
Salt-free garlic powder
2 Tbsp. shallots, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh blueberries
- Pat salmon dry with paper towels. Season with freshly ground pepper and garlic powder.
- In skillet over medium heat, warm oil. Place salmon in skillet with skin side down and cook for two minutes. Flip salmon and cook for two additional minutes (or longer if preferred).
Transfer salmon to a plate and tent with foil.
- Add shallots to skillet and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in broth and wine and bring to a simmer, using spatula to scrape up browned bits.
- Add berries; mash with spatula.
- Remove skillet from heat and let mixture cool slightly. Pour mixture into food processor and puree.
- Spoon mixture on top salmon and serve with your favorite fresh veggies.