Nutritious and Delicious – Exceptional Berries and Fruit
~ Fruit that are high in Antioxidants and Fiber ~
By Laura D. Field – Potpourri of Health ~ May 26, 2014
Summer time is fast approaching, and if you are like me, you look forward to this berry-picking time of year. I can literally spend hours in a berry patch!! And then later, while cleaning and preparing for salads and desserts, I also prepare them for freezing.
Despite the number of hours of freezing from the prior years sowing, the berries of summer past can only last so long, so you look forward to this new season with a fresh anticipation of fruits fresh from the vines.
The best part about berries and other fruit from summer and fall harvests, is not only are they nutritious and delicious, they are also full of antioxidants and fiber which support our body’s ability to run efficiently.
The fruits in which the USDA deems as exceptionally high in antioxidants are:
The #1 is Wild Blueberries!! One might think that a blueberry is a blueberry, and they taste relatively the same. The main difference has to do with its obvious size variation. The wild blueberries are much smaller, and in comparing how many one can get in a cup, more than 150 of the wild ones vs. 80-90 of the cultivated berries, you discover that there is more surface area (skin) on the wild berries. So, not only do you get more fiber, but you also get more of its nutritional antioxidant benefit.
Blackberries – another berry with a fiber coating that packs quite a nutritional kick with a great deal of antioxidant benefit. A firm, dark, ripened blackberry is at its peak and the sweetest. Be sure not to consume the red ones until they have ripened. And avoid any over-ripen, mushy ones. Since they are quickly perishable, consume quickly, and if you cannot consume in an adequate time, such as after you have gone out picking, be sure to flash freeze them.
Raspberries – Similar to that of blackberries, raspberries provide a healthy source of low-calorie sugar (sweetness), and a great deal of nutritional benefit. Raspberries have a great source of vitamins that are high in B-complex, which help the body with the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Select shiny, deep red berries with an attached green cap, which are firm and plump.
Strawberries – Another favorite of mine, and should soon be ready for picking. Many of the same nutritional properties of the other berries already mentioned, providing a rich source of essential nutrients for our health. For me, strawberries are the kick-start of the berry-picking season. Be sure to pick fully firm, red strawberries. Leave the mushy ones to nurture the ground and avoid the ones that are still white and slightly pink. I wash mine when I get home, then prepare them for flash freezing, as well as use for salads and desserts.
Other fruits that are quite beneficial for antioxidant properties are:
- Apples – Red delicious and Granny Smith
- Cherries (sweet)
- Plums (Black)
Since berry picking, cleaning, and prepping can be time consuming, I personally tend to freeze much of what I pick, while enjoying some for a few days. The benefit of picking in large amounts, is that on a day you are home, possibly a rainy Saturday afternoon, you can spend your time making jams, pies, desserts, smoothies, etc. from those frozen berries. Of course, one needs to have a large freezer to put them aside.
One of the favorite jams I have made over the last couple years is a tri-berry jam that incorporates blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. It is amazing!!
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