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Eat Local! Berries

June 30, 2015

 

Inland NW Food Network - Eat Local! BerriesThe good news about this month’s skyrocket temps is early berries! Ripe berries are popping up everywhere and it’s wise to “get ‘em while you can” when they are at their nutritional peak. Berries are known to be potent sources of anthocyanins, the phytonutrient that gives plants their deep red, purple and blue pigments. It is the same constituent credited for the cardiovascular benefits of red wine and the anti-cancer properties of blueberries. Although most of these studies have been done on cells and should not be equated to their function in the human body, we do know that berries are a great source of antioxidants and fiber.

 

Strawberry Lime Freezer Preserves

Berries are rich in antioxidants, which help our body scavenge free radicals, the result of natural and environmental oxidation (think pollution, household and cosmetic chemicals, etc). They can be frozen for 3-6 months without any loss in antioxidant capacity, which makes this recipe perfect for peak-season, peak-nutrition berries!

1 pound fresh strawberries, hulledInland NW Food Network - Eat Local! Strawberries
¼ cup raw, local honey
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1-2 Tablespoons chia seeds

1) Place the hulled strawberries in a food processor fitted with an “s” blade. Pulse until a chunky puree is achieved. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.

2) In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the berries and honey-lime mixture. Whisk together and bring to a gentle boil. Stir frequently, for about 8-10 minutes, until liquid reduces and sauce has thickened.

3) Using a funnel, pour into 2 – 8 oz glass jars or 1 pint jar. Jam may still be runny but will thicken upon setting. Cool uncovered and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.

**Other berries can be substituted for strawberries in this recipe. If using a soft berry like raspberries, blackberries or huckleberries, there is no need to process in the food processor, you can simply mash in a bowl using a potato masher or fork.

 

Any-Berry’s Kefir

Kefir is a fermented food – the result of milk and a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts. The bacteria eat the milk sugars (lactose) and produce enzymes that create a more digestible milk product. Many who are lactose-intolerant can consume properly fermented milks without trouble. This is a great way to flavor without added sugars, just the natural sweet sugars of fruit in their prime.

¾ cup raw milk kefir
½ cup berries of choice (fresh or frozen)

1) Blend ingredients in a blender for 30-60 seconds. Depending on the ripeness of berries, add a touch of raw local honey for a sweet boost!

**Cinnamon is an added bonus to help regulate blood sugars and rev up metabolism!

 

If kefir is new to you and you’d like to support local farms, come sample this recipe at the Kootenai County Farmer’s Market Nutrition Education Booth on Saturday, July 18th with Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Darci Barman!

 

Article and recipes by Darci Barman – Registered Dietitian Nutritionist practicing “foods-first” functional nutrition at Pilgrim’s Wellness Clinic (inside Pilgrim’s Market, CDA, ID).

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