If you're reading this, you probably know how important it is to eat a healthy diet. But if you're on a tight budget, eating more fruits and vegetables can be really expensive. So we all start buying in bulk, and then sometimes we realize we have TOO much to possibly eat in time! Got a teeny bit overboard while purchasing berries? Worried about them getting spoiled? Worry not! We have you covered with some super easy tips and tricks to utilize them. Read on to discover six super easy ways to put those extra berries to use.
Whip Up a Quick Jam
The obvious way to utilize extra berries is to make them into a delicious homemade jam that is not only packed full of flavor, but also full of a lot of healthy goodness. Look up some good jam recipes - depending on the kinds of berries you have at your disposal - and get cooking! You can also add some chia seeds into your jam to give it that perfect texture and an additional healthy crunch factor.
For many years, freezing berries has been known as one of the best ways to preserve them. One of the simplest ways to store extra berries that you may have purchased is to freeze them to use in the future. And best of all, doing that is pretty darn simple! Start by washing the berries thoroughly, then drying them completely before popping them in the freezer. It is best to portion them and store them in small, individual containers or plastic bags so that you can choose to take out only what you need, when you need them.
Make a Cobbler
Perfect for dessert lovers, this one is a must try, and is best served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. Simply mix the fresh berries with some sugar and corn flour, then place it all in a baking dish. Top it with a layer of biscuit dough and coarse sugar. Pop it in the oven and bake until the biscuit layer is brown and crumbly.
If you’re looking to transform your berries into an ingredient that is versatile enough to be used everywhere, make it into a syrup! Reduce some fresh berries down into an intensely flavored syrup by cooking them with some sugar and lemon juice and straining the solids until you are left with a uniform liquid. This could be amazing over ice cream, infused into drinks, and even poured over the right meat as a glaze or a marinade.
Ice Cube ‘Em
If you’re not in the mood to put in too much effort, this trick works great. Simply pop berries in each section of the ice cube tray, top them with water and freeze them as you would normally freeze ice. These berry ice cubes can work great for homemade cocktails, or simply to liven up a normal glass of water.
Make Frozen Yogurt
Frozen yogurt can be an excellent healthy snack option, and berries are the perfect way to take it all up a notch. Simply blend together a handful of berries with greek yogurt (or regular yogurt), freeze it until it turns thick, and you’re done. Another good alternative is to pass berries through a skewer, then top them with a generous coating of yogurt before popping it in the freezer. These berry sticks are super delicious and can be a wonderful, healthy treat too!
I'm not a full-time farmer, but I love berries and they line every single edge of my property. They're the perfect summer fruit. Sure, there's some fuzz on the skin of some, but that just gives them a more rustic look. There are berries that have beautiful metallic hues in the sunlight, and those are worth picking every time. I love to put my kids to working picking as many berries as humanly possible while they’re in season, before the birds run off with them!
All berries are high in fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. But some berries are more powerful than others. My favorites include blueberries (which are totally high in antioxidants) and blackberries (which have a ton of fiber). Really though, you can’t go wrong with strawberries, raspberries, lingonberries, and even the huckleberries that are so plentiful here in Idaho. All of them come with plenty of vitamins and nutritional benefits. In fact, a smoothie made with fresh berries could have almost as many antioxidants as you get from an orange. And that's just one serving!
Best of all, a study by the National Institute of Health has found that dieters who eat more fruit and vegetables are less likely to gain weight. Some studies have shown that eating berries and citrus together can help prevent erectile dysfunction in older men. Everybody wins when there are extra berries around!
Some other ways I’ve been planning to use up extra berries include:
· Berry popsicles
· Berry wine
· Fermented berry kombucha
· Dried berry tea
· Dried berries to put on salads
· Berry potpourri to beautify various corners of the house
· Berry baths
· Chocolate-berry mini pies that can be stored in the freezer
· Dehydrated berry fruit leather for backpacking trips
· Homemade sorbet
· Overnight oats with berries
· Berry-sorting projects with the kids, to teach them about nature
· Berry cookies
· Berry muffins
· Berry pancakes
· Berry French toast
· Berry biscotti
I feel like there could be a lot of craft purposes for properly-dehydrated berries. They could be strung from garland in the winter, and even used for bird feeders in the spring! They could probably be placed in bath bombs, candles, and in potpourri sachets to help freshen up drawers.
So what are you waiting for? Now that you have so many berry ideas, you can go totally berry crazy. Create space in your home for all the crafty berry stuff: you may want a dehydrator, mason jars, strainers and jars. Then, go stock up on ALL the berries, every season and prepare for a totally berry party!