Sunny June brings berries galore, from June-bearing strawberries to plump blueberries, succulent raspberries, and sweet-tart currants. Although many berries are available in grocery stores all year round, much-traveled fruit lacks the vibrant flavor and delicate texture of freshly picked, locally grown berries. Research proves what our senses know well: nutritional quality is at its height when seasonal food is eaten as soon as possible after harvest.
Members of the rose family, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries all offer valuable phytonutrients that benefit your health. Like a little valentine, heart-shaped strawberries are indeed protective of the heart, also offering anti-inflammatory effects (COX inhibition) with broad physical benefits. They may also help alleviate inflammation-related pain from disorders such as arthritis and rheumatism.
Red berries like raspberries, currants, and cranberries owe their blushing colors to anthocyanins, potent antioxidants that also fight bacterial and fungal pathogens.
To preserve freshness, don’t wash berries until ready to eat them.
For best flavor, serve berries fresh and at room temperature.
Add a cupful of fresh or frozen berries to sourdough waffle or pancake batter.
For a quick and delicious dessert, serve fresh raspberries with a spritz of fresh lime juice and a little maple syrup.
Toss fresh blueberries with minced red onion, cilantro, and a splash of lime juice for a spunky side for fish or chicken.
Year of Healthy Living — June 2011
by Anne Lovejoy for Amber Lotus Publishing