Strawberries are available from May through June. In fact, you can purchase strawberries right now at the Trigg County Farmer’s Market. Strawberries provide great health benefits. A 1⁄2-cup serving of sliced strawberries has only 25 calories and provides up to 80% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. When choosing strawberries, look for fully ripened, bright red berries. Strawberries do not ripen after they are picked, so stay away from white or green ones. Strawberries should be plump and have a natural shine and bright green, fresh-looking caps. Containers that have juice stains may indicate that the strawberries in them have been crushed and are possibly moldy. Eat strawberries within one week of purchase. Cover them and store them in the refrigerator, but do not wash them until just prior to use. Strawberries also freeze well for use year around.
Blueberries are also grown in Kentucky and are available from Mid-June through July. Blueberries are a healthy addition to any meal. These berries are only 40 calories per 1⁄2-cup serving and are brimming with vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Blueberries area also a great source of antioxidants, which have been found helpful in preventing many cancers and heart disease. When selecting blueberries, look for berries that are plump, firm, and have a blue-black skin. They should also have a silvery sheen, which is referred to as the bloom. Cover and store fresh blueberries in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Wash them just prior to using them. Like strawberries, blueberries freeze well, so purchase them while they are “in season” and cost less and freeze them for year around use.
Blackberries and raspberries are many times grouped together with boysenberries and dewberries and called brambleberries. Brambleberries are available during the hot months of June, July, and August. One cup of raw berries has only 70 calories and provides fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. Raspberries are available in several colors including red, black, yellow, and purple. The dark purple raspberries and blackberries are also good sources of the antioxidants that help protect us from certain cancers and heart disease. These berries are very delicate and do not ship for store well. Look for plump berries that are uniform in color and appear fresh. Berries should be free of stems and leaves. Avoid moldy, crushed or bruised fruit. Blackberries and raspberries must be used or frozen within two days. These berries should be handled very gently. Wash them by covering them with water and gently lifting the berries out. Drain on paper towels.
Berries are always better when served “au natural” so you don’t add a lot of calories to them Here are a few ideas:
• Put some in a plastic container to eat as a snack or lunch on the go.
• Add berries to a bowl of whole grain cereal.
• Make a yogurt parfait.
• Sprinkle berries on salads.
• Make fruit kabobs along with other fruits such as pineapple, bananas, and grapes.
• Add to frozen ice cream or yogurt.
• Make smoothies.
Look for fresh berries throughout the summer at the Cadiz-Trigg County Farmers Market located on Main Street in downtown Cadiz. The market is open every Wednesday and Saturday from 7:00 AM to noon through October. Shopping at the Farmers Market not only supports our local producers, but it insures that you are getting the freshest produce available. Check it out!
For more information, contact Cecelia Hostilo at the Trigg County Extension Office by calling 522-3269.
Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.
Information for this article was obtained from publications available on the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service Family and Consumer Sciences web site. The recipes are all part of the Plate It Up! Kentucky Proud project, a collaboration between the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. More recipes are available by visiting the Trigg County Extension Office.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh strawberries
8 green onions, chopped
2 cups chopped cherry or grape tomatoes
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, and salt in a large bowl. Add strawberries, green onions, tomatoes, and cilantro and toss to coat. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Serve with tortilla or pita chips.
Yield: 7 (1/2-cup) servings
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 40 calories; 2 g fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 170 mg sodium; 6 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 1 g protein; 60% Daily Value of vitamin C.
Spring Harvest Salad
5 cups torn spring leaf lettuce
2 1⁄2 cups spinach leaves
1 1⁄2 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
1⁄2 cup thinly sliced green onions
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 1⁄2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1⁄2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Kentucky honey
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 cup feta cheese crumbles
1⁄2 cup unsalted sliced almonds
Combine leaf lettuce and spinach leaves with sliced strawberries, blueberries, and green onion is a large salad bowl. Prepare dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, and salt; pour over lettuce mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle salad with feta cheese and sliced almonds. Serve immediately.
Yield: 8 (1 cup) servings
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 130 calories; 9 g fat; 1.5 g saturated fat; 240 mg sodium; 12 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 3 g protein
Blackberry Lemon Upside Down Cake
2 teaspoons melted butter
1⁄3 cup brown sugar
11⁄2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
2 cups fresh blackberries
11⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
11⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2⁄3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 large egg
3⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1⁄2 cup skim milk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place melted butter in the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and lemon rind. Top with berries. Set aside.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set dry ingredients aside. Beat sugar and butter together in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add egg, vanilla, and lemon juice. Mix well. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture alternately with milk, beginning with milk and ending with flour. Mix after each addition. Spoon the batter over the blackberries. Bake at 350°F for 40
Cool cake for 5 minutes on a wire rack. Loosen edges of the cake with a knife and place a plate upside down on top of cake; invert onto plate. Serve warm.
Yield: 8 (3-inch) slices
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 230 calories; 5 g fat; 35 mg cholesterol; 220 mg sodium; 45 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 4 g protein