Berries are one of nature’s great bounties. Everything about them invites us to eat them, from their bright colors, juiciness to their sweet taste.
So what to do with them? If you have an abundance of berries one of the best and easiest ways to use them is in a smoothie. The great thing about berry smoothies, is that you don’t need to wait for them to be in season, frozen berries work just as well, which means you get to enjoy them year round.
For the berry aficionado we have a great range of berry smoothie recipes.
Berries are the superfoods of the fruit world. They are low in fat, carbohydrates and calories but high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This makes them great for weight management and digestion.
Nutritionally they are in a class of their own. Their bright colors, from the deep blues, bright reds and rich purples are a clue to their antioxidant properties. Berries have high levels of phytonutrients which are naturally occurring compounds found in plants. Phytonutrients are mostly found in the peel or skin of fruits and vegetables and because berries are small, with an edible skin, the levels are very concentrated. The chemical compounds that are responsible for the purple and red pigments found in berries are called phytochemicals. Each berry’s color stems from a different collection of flavonoids, so it’s best to eat a variety of different berries and colors, but its blueberries which rank the highest in overall antioxidant power.
The phytonutrients in berries have an antioxidant effect, they improve the body’s immune system and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Studies have shown they are also excellent sources of Vitamin C with lesser amounts of essential minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorous.
Blueberries - Are packed with antioxidant power, which comes in the form of anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid, and contain significant amounts of micronutrients and fiber.
Raspberries – A high-fiber powerhouse, raspberries also contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K and the B vitamins folic acid and niacin.
Cranberries – Also contain the same blue-red anthocyanin flavonoids as blueberries. They are excellent sources of vitamin C and fiber, and good sources of manganese and copper.
Strawberries – Rival citrus fruit for vitamin C. In fact one cup of strawberries contains more vitamin C than an orange. They also excellent sources of potassium, folate, fiber, and like the rest of the berry family, antioxidants.
If you are buying fresh berries, try to get the locally grown variety, or even better, pick them yourself. Choose organically grown, if at all possible, as raspberries and strawberries can contain pesticide residue.
Discard anything that looks mushy or moldy and store in a clean, dry container. Never wash your berries prior to storing. Berries have a short storage life, and tend to go bad quickly, so a smoothie is the ideal way to use up any excess. The other alternative is to freeze some.
Fortunately berries freeze really well, and will last in the freezer for up to 6 months. If you have room in your freezer you can freeze sufficient to last you through the winter months.
Wash and leave whole, remove any leaves, then pat dry. Spread in a single layer on a large baking sheet and freezer until they harden. Then transfer to a sealable plastic bag, label and place in the freezer.
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