Recipes

6 Strawberry Recipes You’ll Love for Spring & Summer

For us, spring hasn’t truly arrived until the first crop of strawberries is here. Since they’re almost here, we rounded up six fantastic appetizer, entrée, and dessert recipes for using your favorite fruit from now into summer.

 

Breakfast Flatbread with Ricotta and Strawberry-Basil Jam

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A breakfast version of pizza that combines the crunch of warm flatbread with the mild savoriness of ricotta and the floral-sweet flavor of a strawberry jam punched up with basil? Yes, please.

 

Blue Cheese Stuffed Strawberries

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Strawberries are a natural counterpoint to tangy cheeses. This simple recipe, with the extra zing of balsamic vinegar, makes an easy yet unexpected party hors d’ouevre. Save the scooped-out strawberry centers for making compotes, smoothies, or strawberry ice cubes.

 

Citrus Steak Salad

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With its mix of oranges and strawberries, this take on sirloin is light, bright, and filling, and looks impressive, too.

 

Strawberry Horchata

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A twist on the classic Latin rice-based milk drink, this berry version of horchata will satisfy the sweetest of palates. Make it vegan—and a bit more grown up—by substituting half of the condensed milk with coconut milk and half with a cream liqueur, such as Amarula or Guappa.

 

Chocolate Strawberry Slump (Cobbler)

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Perfect for when you need a dessert that looks and tastes impressive but doesn’t take sophisticated kitchen skills—or a lot of time—to put together.

 

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Fudge

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Why let peanut butter, chocolate, or maple have all the fun? Strawberries make a delicious flavor and texture complement to this fudge, which is made entirely in the microwave.

 

 

Not Just for Dessert: How to Use Berries in Savory Recipes

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Berries are a no-brainer in dessert, as well as in dozens of waffle, pancake, muffin, and breakfast-cake recipes. But why stop there, when you can enjoy the phenomenal taste and supernutritious benefits of berries with every meal? Here’s a little inspiration for using strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries in some unexpected savory meals.

Serve berries in your next:

Raw salad. All berries, but especially strawberries and blueberries, are delicious with spinach, kale, mache, or mesclun mixes, where their sweetness takes the bite out of greens. Add a handful of nuts, like almonds or walnuts, for contrasting textures and extra nutritional punch.

Bruschetta. Fresh or as a jam, berries work beautifully with a drizzle of fine olive oil.

Grilled cheese. Make a berry jam or conserves—either from a single berry or mixed berries—and spread it over your bread before you grill cheese. We haven’t met a cheese yet that doesn’t taste amazing when paired with berries, so experiment with everything from sharp, tangy goat cheeses or aged hard cheeses like Parmesan or Asiago, to milder cheeses like Swiss, Gruyere, and cheddar.

Baked Brie. We weren’t kidding when we said berries go with any cheese! This dish never fails to please at dinner parties, but it couldn’t be easier to make. Simply stew the berries on the stovetop first to create a jammy consistency, the spoon it over freshly baked Brie.

Pizza. You could easily make a sweet—and crowd-pleasing—pizza with berries and a young goat cheese. But did you know that blackberries and raspberries provide a natural “lift” to earthier flavors like blue cheese and arugula? Or that strawberries and blueberries are a dream team when paired with spinach, mozzarella, and a dash of balsamic vinegar?

Sauce for proteins. This is one of our favorite—and probably the most underused—way to serve berries in a savory recipe. Stew them with a squeeze or two of agave or honey, plus a little cornstarch (if needed for thickening), then pour the sauce over roasted or grilled pork, beef, lamb, or tempeh. Serve with healthy grains like quinoa and brown rice.

Dipping sauce. Similar to the above, a stewed sauce of raspberries or strawberries makes a deliciously unexpected dip for fried chicken (or vegan “chicken”).

Spicy barbecue sauce. If you love a kick-in-the-pants barbecue sauce, try mixing berries along with chile peppers, like habanero, jalapeno, and chipotle, while cooking. Let the mixture sit for several hours before using, to deepen the flavors.

Ceviche. While berries may not seem like the most natural pairing with fish, they’re delightful in this traditional Latino dish, where citrus brings out their inherent brightness.

Tropical salsa. Mix the berries with mango, pineapple, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno, a healthy squeeze of lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Then serve over crispy fried tilapia or sea bass in fish tacos, or over shredded beef or pork nachos.

Mixed-berry Thanksgiving sauce. Tired of the same-old cranberry sauce? Reinvent it with a mixture of blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Your turkey—and your tastebuds—will thank you!

Cocktails. Sure, you’ve had berries in sweet spiked lemonades and iced teas. But have you tried them with stronger spirits? Muddle the berries with cachaça for an update on the Brazilian classic caipirinha, or blend with rum and mint for an unforgettable take on the mojito.

 

 

Winter Doldrums Got You Down? Give Yourself a Berry Boost!

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As the winter—with its cold, short days and long, dark nights—marches on, it’s not uncommon to start feeling low-energy, fatigued, or even down in the dumps. These feelings, plus our tendency to soothe ourselves with comfort foods during the winter months, can create stress that increases the number of free radicals in our bodies. An excess of free radicals can lead to a host of diseases and ailments, among them depression . . . and then the cycle perpetuates itself. But even though we still have a couple of months to go before we can start enjoying longer days and sunshine, we do have a potent weapon against the winter doldrums: berries.

Various studies have shown that the antioxidants in blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries can significantly decrease the incidence of depression. Blueberries can even combat genetic and biochemical tendencies toward the depression and suicidal feelings that are often associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And because berries help prevent the release of cortisol, the well-known “stress hormone,” experts consider them one of the top foods for boosting mood and energy and improving concentration.

Start the day off on a positive note with a cup of green tea (another great stress reducer), followed by a berry-rich breakfast. If you love hearty breakfasts like pancakes and oatmeal, add a healthy serving of berries for a mood blast. But if a grab-and-go breakfast is more your style, try our Mood-Boosting Berry Smoothie. It’s vegan and gluten-free, and you can even prep the ingredients the night before and store them in the fridge (except the banana; it’ll turn brown in cold storage). If the berries are frozen, allow them to thaw at room temperature for at least 20 minutes, or in the fridge overnight. The next morning, toss everything in the blender, and you’re good to go!

 

Mood-Boosting Berry Smoothie

Makes 2 servings

1 cup mixed berries 

1 banana

1/2 cup fresh spinach

1/4 cup roasted unsalted walnuts

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add more almond milk until it reaches an easily drinkable consistency.

Berries for Breakfast: 7 Ways to Use Your Favorite Fruit to Start the Day

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Berries are the undisputed champ of the breakfast table, and with good reason: they’re not just a healthy way to kick off your day, they’re also incredibly versatile and full of flavor. And did we mention crowd-pleasing? We can’t think of another food that’s universally loved by both adults and kids.

And since there’s evidence that eating something sweet with breakfast can actually help you lose weight and keep it off, we think it’s a great time to make strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries a regular part of your breakfast routine. Here are seven of our favorite ways to enjoy berries for breakfast:

  1. In smoothies. Mix with cow’s milk or yogurt (or non-dairy milk or yogurt) and a banana for a rich, creamy texture. Or for a powerful antioxidant boost, blend with a handful of spinach or kale, plus a teaspoon of fresh ginger for a zingy wake-up drink.
  2. Fresh on top of oatmeal or cereal. Gluten free or low-carb? No problem! Try this nut porridge recipe, and sub out the apples and raisins with your favorite berry mix.  
  3. Fresh on top of pancakes or waffles, or a bowl of yogurt. We also love them cooked into the pancakes or waffles—just drop a handful of berries into the batter, once you’ve poured it into the waffle iron or skillet—with yogurt drizzled over the top! Add a handful of chopped walnuts for extra protein.
  4. Blended with acai, another superfood, to make acai bowls. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries all lend sweetness to the acai, and the combination creates a vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant blast that’s unmatched by any single food. Top with granola and more fresh berries, or for a tropical twist, add mango and pineapple chunks.
  5. In baked treats like muffins, scones, popovers, coffee cake, and sweet breads. Use a .5:1 mix of wheat and all-purpose flour for extra fiber, or try experimenting with almond flour for a gluten-free, protein-rich, flavor-packed breakfast you can grab on the go.
  6. Cooked into conserves or jams and spread over freshly made warm bread or toast.
  7. In homemade granola bars and oat squares. We’re partial to this vegan berry oat square recipe, featuring blueberries and strawberries, mixed with oatmeal, spices, and maple syrup.

 

8 Raspberry Recipes to Enjoy This Fall

If you live in an area with local farm stands that grow fall raspberries—and we hope you do!—we’ve rounded up eight amazing breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipes that are perfect for weekdays or for serving to guests.

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For a heartier breakfast on chilly mornings, use a half-and-half mix of whole wheat or almond flour and all-purpose in these Lemon Poppy Pancakes with Raspberry Sauce. Or use all almond flour for a gluten-free version.

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Forget the jam; use this velvety Raspberry Butter on toast, pancakes, muffins, even fresh corn. Make a double batch and freeze half to use later.

 

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This tangy Fresh Raspberry Vinaigrette goes with any salad—hot or cold.

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Looking for a grown-up alternative to raspberry lemonade? Try Raspberry Basil Limoncello, a sophisticated combination of fruit, herbs, and liqueur.

 

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A chewy, hearty flavor blast, this easy Black Rice and Raspberry Salad is also full of other healthy ingredients like sprouts and herbs.

 

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The Chipotle Raspberry Sauce in this slow-cooker taquitos recipe can be used with almost any baked, grilled, or roasted meat or fish dish.

 

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Light, fluffy, and bursting with crunchy almonds and sweet raspberries, this Raspberry Almond Cake takes just two bowls and a few steps to whip up.

 

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Not for the short on time or patience, this multistep Raspberry Spice Cake recipe pays off in a huge way with a cake that looks as impressive as those at a high-end bakery, plus the unexpected combo of fall-friendly spices with delicate raspberries.

 

Snack Roundup: The 10 Best Blueberry Recipes

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With blueberries at their peak for the next few weeks, we’ve rounded up our favorite blueberry recipes—savory and sweet—to keep this sweet and superhealthy fruit in your menu rotation all week long.

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Anytime we hear blueberry and cake in the same sentence, we’re in. We’ll be starting the day with this Blueberry Breakfast Cake all summer.

Blueberry Breakfast bake Whole Foods

                      

This delightful morning variation on bread pudding is assembled the night before you serve it, making it perfect for when you have guests or when you want to present your family with something special on the weekend.

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Two things we love (besides berries): naan and pizza. And we love them even more when combined with blueberries into this savory-sweet Blueberry, Feta, and Honey-Caramelized Onion Naan Pizza.

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Use this Savory Blueberry Sauce to top roasted chicken or pork.

Blueberry mozzarella honey crisps

Who knew bruschetta could taste this good by swapping out the traditional tomato topping with blueberries?

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This Scandinavian-style Blueberry Soup is a one-pot wonder that works equally well with fresh or frozen berries, so you can enjoy it all year long.

Delish Berry Cheesecake Bars recipe

Pull out a few of those fresh strawberries you froze last month and put together this heavenly combo of blueberry and strawberry Cheesecake Bars.

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Try pairing the zing of ginger with the natural sweetness of cooked berries in this Blueberry Ginger Pie.

Blueberry pecan galette bon appetit recipe

This Blueberry Pecan Galette looks as impressive as it tastes, but it’s not difficult to make. Whip up the crust up to two days before guests arrive, then mix together the filling and bake.

Lucious Blueberry Cinnamon Smoothie recipe

Packed with protein, antioxidants, and tons of flavor, this smoothie is the perfect midday pick-me-up, especially when you’re trying to avoid sugary snacks.

 

 

 

 

 

6 Ways to Enjoy Fresh-Tasting, Local Strawberries All Year Long

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6 Ways to Enjoy Fresh-Tasting, Local Strawberries 

. . . All Year Long

Summer is just getting under way here in the Northeast, and we’re looking forward to several weeks’ worth of fresh, juicy strawberries. But short of going on an all-strawberry diet—which, come to think of it, doesn’t sound like a bad idea—we often find ourselves with extra berries. And since the thought of tossing even part of our bounty makes us want to cry into our berry smoothies, we’ve developed several ways to keep the good times rolling—and the berries fresh-tasting—all year long.

Freeze them! This is the easiest way to preserve all that strawberry goodness long after the growing season has ended. First, be sure that the berries you’re using are fully ripe; they should be deep red and firm. Remove the stems and caps, and wash and drain the fruit. Place the berries in a single layer on towels to dry; then pop the whole berries into containers or freezer bags (squeeze as much air as possible out of the bags), and place in the freezer.

You can also slice the berries in half or lightly crush them, place them in a bowl, and stir 1/2 cup sugar into each quart of berries, and gently mix till the sugar is dissolved. Freeze them in containers. To use, allow the berries to thaw completely, and drain off excess water. The water can be used for smoothies, so don’t throw it out!

Make berry cubes. In a mixing bowl, gently crush up to a pint of berries. Add enough filtered or spring water to make a chunky liquid. If you like extra sweetness, add 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar, and stir well until the sugar is dissolved. If you prefer a mix of savory and sweet flavors, skip the sugar and add a handful of clean, finely chopped fresh basil, mint, or rosemary. Spoon the mixture into clean ice cube trays. For a sweet berry blast in cocktails and other drinks, pop a couple of frozen berry cubes into the glass.

Make jam or jelly. Each cook seems to have his or her own jam recipe, so don’t be afraid to experiment! If you’ve never tried making strawberry jam before, it couldn’t be easier. Try this recipe for ultra-simple, no-cook freezer jam, or this recipe for more traditional, cooked strawberry preserves.

Dry them. Skip the teeny-tiny, overpriced packages of strawberries sold in some gourmet stores. Instead, preheat your oven to 200 degrees F. Clean your fresh berries, remove the stems and caps, and slice them in half. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and lay the berries cut side up on top. Slide the sheet into the oven, and dry the berries for 2 hours. Flip them over, and dry for 2 hours more. Allow the berries to cool completely, and store them in airtight containers in the fridge. They shrink quite a bit when dried, so you’ll be able to pack quite a few into each container.

If you have a dehydrator, you can dry the sliced berries at 135 degrees F for 8 to 10 hours for soft berries, or 10 to 14 hours for crisp ones.

Although store-bought dried strawberries have added sugar, baking them on a low heat setting really concentrates their sweetness, so we skip that step. Why mess with perfection?

Mix up a quick strawberry sauce. This simple sauce is a classic for topping pancakes, waffles, ice cream, and cakes, but it’s also good in savory dishes. Mix it with some balsamic vinaigrette for salads; add it to marinades for chicken, fish, or pork; or drain off a bit of the liquid and spread it over artisanal bread for grilled cheese sandwiches. This sauce will keep in the fridge for several days, and you can also freeze it

Craft your own strawberry wine. This recipe requires a bit of attention and a lot of patience, to keep you from sampling the wares before they’re ready, but it’s well worth the effort and the handful of specialty supplies, especially if you’ve got guests coming over for the holidays. Trust us: you’ll wonder why you didn’t try it sooner.

Don’t miss out on the summer berry harvest! Find a farm in your area today.

How to Pick the Best, Most Luscious Berries

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How to Pick the Best, Most Luscious Berries

The sweet little white blooms of our strawberry plants are the first—and most welcome—sign that summer is on its way. Since those happy flowers will transform into delicious fruits in just a couple of short weeks, we’ve put together this guide for how to pick the best berries.

1. Buy local! Strawberries that are shipped in from across the country or over country borders are picked prior to ripening, to keep them from deteriorating quickly. But berries generally don’t ripen after picking, and pre-ripe berries are often flavorless. To find a New York State berry farm in your area, visit our Find a Farm directory.

2. Look for bright color and firm flesh. Select only strawberries that are shiny and firm, with a rich red color and caps and/or stems that are a vibrant green and fresh-looking. Avoid berries that have white or green flesh around the cap or in the center of the berry.

3. Remember that size and shape don’t equal quality. Supermarket berries are bred and selected for their uniform appearance, but their flavor and texture can’t compare to their sweet, juicy farm stand cousins. So even if the berries have a funny shape or vary in size, as long as they’re ripe, they’ll still taste great!

4. Plan a midmorning harvest. If you’re planning to visit a U-pick, or pick-your-own, berry farm, time your trip for midmorning, after the dew has evaporated but the berries are still cool to the touch. Harvest the berries by holding the fruit with one hand and using the thumb and index finger of the opposite hand to snap the stem. Avoid grabbing the fruit and pulling downward on the berry; this can damage them.

Once you get home, take the strawberries out of the carton and look for any that might be partially squashed or have the beginnings of mold growth; remove these berries to prevent additional mold from forming. Wash only what you need for the moment, and refrigerate the unwashed remainder.

Refrigerated berries will generally stay fresh for up to a week. But between slicing them over granola, adding them to pies and muffins, using them in sweet-savory recipes, and munching on them by the handful, our berries never seem to last that long. . . .

Member Spotlight: Tomion's Farm

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Member Spotlight:

Tomion's Farm, Penn Yan, NY

Farming has been part of the Tomion’s Farm family for so long that co-owner Alan Tomion is stumped when asked when they first established the business. He laughs and explains, “My great-grandfather started growing strawberries, and my father added vegetables. Then I expanded it with raspberries, hay, rhubarb. So it’s definitely been over 50 years. The farm has always been in our family.”

Located in the Finger Lakes in Penn Yan, the 160-acre Tomion’s Farm and store is open year-round, and sells strawberries, red raspberries, and blackberries, as well as a variety of fruits, vegetables, and live plants. The operation is primarily retail, with wholesale strawberry sales in the summer. The store also offers fresh baked goods and a selection of gifts.

Alan’s wife and co-owner, Crystal Tomion, runs the farm market, and oversees a handful of year-round part-time employees. Two of the couple’s sons have also joined the business.

While the invasive pest spotted wing drosophila (a common problem in the Northeast) posed a minor issue for the Tomions’ fall raspberries a few years ago, the farm’s proximity to the Geneva Experiment Station has allowed them to benefit from the expertise of Professor Greg Loeb, who has conducted research on the farm, and their strawberry crops have been unaffected. Instead, the biggest challenge has been finding summer laborers. Alan says, “There needs to be some kind of program for workers who aren’t citizens to be able to make a living and not be hassled,” and notes that tightening restrictions against noncitizen workers have reduced their seasonal prospects from 100 to about a dozen.

Tomions Farm Market New York State Berry Growers Association

Another challenge originates closer to home. The local Mennonite community, with their larger families and tradition of training their children as the next generation of laborers, are able to sell produce at a much lower price than farms with higher labor costs. “They’re stiff competition,” Alan admits.

Also stiff competition: grocery stores that sell peeled and washed produce and prepackaged dinners, and that target their marketing toward busy families and career people. “Older customers know that local berries have a lot more taste and nutrition,” Alan says. “But we’re slowly losing our older customers. Eating habits among younger people have changed quite a bit. They go out to eat more and buy more premade meals. And they don’t buy extra to freeze, like our older customers do.”

Still, Tomion’s Farm, which benefits from its high-visibility location on the busiest highway in the county, has succeeded for more than half a century by sticking to its mission of providing high-quality local foods. Alan and Crystal used to do more marketing and advertising, but ultimately decided that the cost outweighed the extra revenue that was needed to cover it. They now rely on their website and Facebook page, a few ads in local newspapers and magazines, and the word of mouth of customers, to spread the berry gospel.

Although Alan loves seeing first-time customers turn into repeat customers, for him, it all comes back to getting hands-on in the earth. “Farming is in my blood,” he says. “I just enjoy watching my crops grow.”

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