raspberries

Blueberry Raspberry Zucchini Bread

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We’re always looking for ways to make baked goods healthier. One of the best ways to do this is to reduce the amount of sugar used in the recipe, and add the nutritional boost of berries.

For this Blueberry Raspberry Zucchini Bread recipe, raspberries and blueberries take center stage in a light, fluffy, lemony zucchini bread. It’s the perfect way to showcase your farmers’ market haul—while also using up some of that extra zucchini. Larger, less flavorful zucchini are perfect for this. Be sure to drain the grated zucchini well, especially if it’s from a large squash; bigger zucchini tend to have a much higher water content. This recipe makes 2 large loaves or 4 minis—so you can share with friends, take them on picnics, or freeze a loaf or two for later!

Here’s how to make a crowd-pleasing Blueberry Raspberry Zucchini Bread:

 

Blueberry Raspberry Zucchini Bread

 

Ingredients

  • 4 flax “eggs” (4 tablespoons flax meal combined with 12 tablespoons water)

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup applesauce

  • 1 cup canola oil

  • 2 cups unpeeled, grated zucchini, drained for at least 20 minutes

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • zest of 1 lemon

  • 2 1/2 cups wheat flour

  • 1 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 4 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, or a mix of blueberries and raspberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Make the flax “eggs” and allow mixture to sit for 10 minutes. Then beat the flax “eggs” on medium with the sugar and applesauce until well mixed. Add the oil and beat again. Add the zucchini, lemon juice, and lemon zest and mix well.

  2. In a separate bowl, mix the flours, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. With the beaters on, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. Gently fold in the blueberries and raspberries.

  3. Pour the batter into 2 silicone (or greased and floured) 5 x 9-inch loaf pans, or 4 mini loaf pans. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the loaves comes out clean.

  4. Remove from the oven and cool 10 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pans and place on a wire rack to cool completely. 

 

Vegan Banana Berry Muffins

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Muffins are the ultimate portable breakfast or snack; just peel them out of their wrappers, pop a few in a bag or container, and go! We didn’t think it was possible to improve on the muffin concept . . . until we tried these Vegan Banana Berry Muffins—a fluffy, cakey delight bursting with sweetness and the bright flavor of berries. You can use a single type of berry—strawberries or blueberries, for example—for this recipe, but we love a mix.

 

Because overripe banana is richly sweet and works well as a binder in baked goods, this Vegan Banana Berry Muffins recipe calls for very little oil, and only a small amount of sugar. We’ve blended two different flours here—whole wheat for fiber and almond for protein and an extra zing of flavor, but you can substitute either with all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour (you may need to add more or less almond milk if you do this). Likewise, the nuts are optional, but we love their crunch and the added protein. The almond flour and nuts make these muffins a little more filling than those made with only white flour, so you won’t be tempted to overindulge in one sitting.

 

Serve these Vegan Banana Berry Muffins with vegan butter or cashew cream cheese, or a spoonful of lemon curd. They’ll keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week, or in the freezer for up to two months.

  

Vegan Banana Berry Muffins

 

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Ingredients

1 flax “egg” (1 tablespoon flaxseed meal mixed with 3 tablespoons water)

3 medium ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup granulated sugar or coconut sugar

3 tablespoons agave

3 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoons salt (pink Himalayan sea salt is our favorite)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

3/4 cup unsweeted plain almond milk or coconut milk

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 chopped walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts (optional)

1 cup strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries, or a combination

Brown sugar (optional)

 

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper or silicone baking cups.

2. In a large bowl, make the flax egg. Wait 10 minutes, then add the banana, baking powder, and baking soda and beat until fairly smooth, with only small chunks remaining.

3. Add the sugar, agave, oil, salt, and cinnamon and beat on medium to combine. Add the almond or coconut milk and beat until combined.

4. In a medium bowl, mix the almond meal and flour. Add to the banana mixture and mix until just combined; don’t overmix! Gently fold in the nuts and berries.

5. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling completely. If desired, sprinkle a little brown sugar over the top of each muffin. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the edges of the muffins have turned golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes. Remove from the tin and allow to cool completely on a rack.

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.

 

 

Are Frozen Berries as Nutritious as Fresh? You Bet!

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A May article in The Guardian posed the following question and answer:

Q: Fresh [food] is best – right?

A: In fact, studies on the relative benefits of fresh and frozen show no consistent differences.

As far back as the late 1990s, the Food & Drug Administration declared that frozen fruits and vegetables provide the same essential nutrients and health benefits as fresh. Meanwhile, a more recent story on Health.com notes, “Some of the healthiest foods in the market are in the freezer section.” 

So when it comes to those local berries you bought and froze during the summer, rest assured that enjoying them during the fall and winter doesn’t mean that your favorite recipes will lack for any of the health benefits that make strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries the superfoods they are. No matter whether fresh or frozen, berries are nutritional powerhouses that can contribute to a variety of positive health effects, from preventing to disease to maintaining a consistent weight.

The ability of frozen fruit and vegetables to retain their nutritional value has a lot to do with the quick-freezing and flash-freezing technologies that have been developed and refined since the 1920s. These days, frozen berries show no significant difference in nutrient levels as their fresh counterparts. They’ve also improved a lot in texture and flavor, thanks to manufactures’ desire to satisfy the savvy customer’s demand for healthier, better-tasting, and better-quality foods.

So take out a bag or two of your frozen farmers’ market berries and allow them to thaw overnight in the fridge. Add strawberries or blackberries to pancakes or acai bowls, fold blueberries into muffins and breads, and savor raspberries in sauces for meat and fish. Or enjoy enjoy a mix of berries in pies, tarts, trifles, and parfaits—without guilt or fear that they’re not as good for you as their freshly picked friends.

 

Farmers' Market Finds with Dale Ila Riggs

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This summer, NYSBGA board chair Dale Ila Riggs was interviewed by Albany radio station WEQX about how she got her start in farming and why growing and selling healthy, happy berries has become such an important part of her work. Listen to the interview through the link below.

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.