The Berry Post

When you write a blog with about five consistent readers and one of those readers gives you a request, you take that request.


That's why I dedicate this blog post to berries- a worthy topic, seeing as it's the time of the season for gooey blueberry pies and sun-warmed blackberries straight off the bush and, for all you hip kids, acai bowls on the beach.

Never mind the bollocks, where are the recipes?  Scroll to the bottom of the post.

Berries and I haven't always been buds.  When I was younger, my sister spooned white sugar into raspberries and called them "raspberry-frosted sugar bombs"- an allusion to the "Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs" of Calvin's and Hobbes's Saturday mornings- in the hopes that I would eat them. 
One of my earliest memories is eating a single sour blueberry and deciding I would never eat blueberries again.


Thankfully, I no longer hold a grudge against blueberries.  I still have a tentative relationship with some berries, but I pop strawberries like candy.  My favorite nice cream flavor is strawberry(as a chocoholic, that's hard for me to admit.  Earthy Andy has a simple recipe, which I used the first time I made strawberry nice cream.)  The sweet, tart nature of raspberries means they're stellar on bagels smothered in nut butter.  One of my favorite combinations of all time is frozen blueberries over top of chocolate nice cream.  It sounds kind of "meh", but try it and you'll see.  You'll see.


Berries are packed with polyphenols.  "Polyphenol" is a wide term a lot of different plant compounds, including some antioxidants.  In general, polyphenols lower blood pressure, but research also suggests that the polyphenols in blueberries can increase bone density to ward off osteoporosis.  The  antioxidants in berries include vitamin C, which boosts the immune system.  Berries have a lot of other vitamins, too (some vitamins are antioxidants and some aren't but are still good for you).  Blueberries also have an antioxidant that keeps our memories strong against age.  Raspberries have an anti-carcinogenic compound.  All berries are great sources of fiber.  Berries are just plain awesome.

I've focused mostly on strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries because they're the easiest to find in the store, but the polyphenols and antioxidants I mentioned above apply to all berries, as far as I know.

Berries are a great way to add a punch of flavor, a kick of health, and, since we're going with violent verbs, an uppercut of color to your food.  Here are two of my favorite easy ways to do berries:


The New and Improved Berry Smoothie Bowl.
This is probably my favorite smoothie bowl: it's beautiful, delicious, and I feel great after I eat it.  I posted about it last summer, but since then, I've made some improvements to it.
Blend:
1 banana
3 medium-sized strawberries
5 raspberries
5 blueberries
a splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Pour into a bowl and top with:
almond butter
granola
frozen raspberries, blueberries

A few tips:
Too many berries will make the smoothie sour.  When unsure, go for less rather than more.
Chill the berries in the fridge before blending them in the smoothie.  Smoothies are definitely better cold.
In the case of this smoothie bowl, if you don't have almond milk, substitute the almond milk for 1/8 tsp vanilla extract and a splash of cold water.
You can top this bowl with frozen strawberries, too, but cut them into small pieces before freezing, or you might break a tooth eating them.



Fancy Infused Water.
Wash a handful of your favorite berries- mixing different kinds is great.  If they're bigger, like strawberries, slice them into bite-sized pieces.  Put them in a glass.
Add a pinch of mint to the glass.  Fresh is best, but dried mint works.
Fill the glass with ice, then water.  Sparkling water would be great, too.
Enjoy! (This is so easy, you don't really need a recipe, but it's my blog and I do what I want.)
Bonus points if you drink it with a fun straw,
then use the straw to spear the berries and eat them.


Wanna know more about berries?  Think I was making all that health-benefit stuff up?
This is the website I used for the info in this post.
Wright, Brierly, M.S., R.D.  "The Total-Body Benefits of Berries."  Eating Well.  July/August 2008, Web, July 2017.

This site also has a lot of good information.
I also contacted a Clemson food science student to clarify some information.

Savo 'lass a lalaith,
Heather <3


P.S.  Hit up 65 Degrees, the blog I'm writing for my dad's piece-de-resistance construction project.

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