Berry Delicious

 In Living Plate

A recent conversation with my smaller children about the ingredients of a blue ICEE had them questioning, do blue raspberries really exist?  I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I did not have a straight answer for them.  Turns out, there is no such thing as a blue raspberry.  Nadia Berenstein, A University of Pennsylvania food historian, notes that the bright blue, dye-infused foods, from frozen whips and snow cones to ice pops, appeal more to children and simply sell better than naturally-colored products. No surprise here as evidenced by the facial expressions of my children as I tried to pass off a “natural” version. So, as we enter the season for both artificial and natural versions of our favorite berries, let’s consider the health benefits of those that come from the ground instead of a machine.

Berries are at the top of the food chain in terms of nutrient density.  They beat out most foods in areas of sugar content [relatively low] and phythochemical levels [very high.]  Here are how different varieties stack up:

Blueberries 

Have you ever looked at the inside of a blueberry?  Cultivated blueberries have a green-ish interior with a mucilaginous feel. Wild blueberries are deep purple throughout, an indication that they contain more of the powerful “purple” phytochemicals called anthocyanins. Both varieties are low-glycemic [meaning they don’t tend to spike your blood sugar] and have multiple culinary uses.  We love frozen wild blueberries in our smoothies or tossed with quinoa and cardamom for breakfast.  Try this breakfast game-changer:  Orange Wild Blueberry Quinoa Bowl

Raspberries

Don’t let their delicate flesh fool you – raspberries pack a punch nutritionally. Loaded with vitamin C – you’ll get 40%+ daily value in just one cup – they also are rich in various phytochemicals known to be anti-inflammatory.  Eat alone with a handful of raw nuts [perfect snack] or toss on top of your breakfast choice or a salad.  Try using raspberries in this flexible mug cake recipe.

Blackberries

While similar in appearance to their hollowed-out cousins the raspberries, blackberries have a solid core with notable seeds in their flesh.  These seeds indicate the presence of insoluble fiber, which plays an important role in digestive health providing bulk that promotes regularity.  Also, their deep purple hue hints at the high levels of antioxidants these little gems hold.  Our favorite way to consume blackberries is rinsed, straight from the container.

Strawberries

The belle of the berry ball, it seems that strawberries are universally liked.  Smelling your strawberries is the best indicator of flavor – if they don’t smell like much, they won’t taste like much.  Also, look for berries that are deep red with hulls that are green – an excellent measure of freshness. Our Strawberry Almond Chia Pudding is healthy enough for breakfast and delicious enough for dessert.

Resource:  https://www.bonappetit.com/entertaining-style/pop-culture/article/what-is-blue-raspberry-flavor Retrieved on April 14, 2018.

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