By Nicole Arcilla, MS, RDN, LDN
Follow Nicole on Instagram @YourGutFeelingRDN
It’s August and soon it will be the end of the summer. If you’re like me, you may have seized the opportunity of berry season these last few months and have plenty of berries from a local farmers market, or maybe even went to a nearby farm to pick your own berries.
Compared to other fruits, berries are lower in carbohydrates and sugar, but are packed with a high amount of fiber and antioxidants.
If you have a ton of berries left over, or just simply love berries and are looking for more ways to incorporate them through the week, here are five ideas to try out:
1. Bake a crumble.
If you’re not great at baking or new to it, crumbles are a great way to practice – they’re quick, easy, and can be turned into a healthier sweet treat! There’s plenty of crumble recipes out there, but once you get a hang of different ingredient portions, you can easily make your own recipe. For ideas, try the recipe at the end of this article that focuses on ingredients to boost the fiber content of a classic dish.
2. Cook the berries with something savory.
Just because berries are fruits doesn’t mean it can only be eaten as a sweet treat or part of one. Berries can make excellent additions to more savory dishes too. Add them as toppings to a chicken salad or my favorite – try baking them with salmon! Simply foil-bake salmon with blueberries (or try any other berry of your choice), a squeeze of lemon, and a little bit of thyme with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Enjoy them with infused water.
Fruit-infused water is a fun and healthful way to hydrate and easy to do. Simply add sliced berries (or whole blueberries) to water. You can muddle the berries as well. For added benefits and enhanced flavor, try adding fresh herbs like rosemary or mint.
4. Make an herbed chia jam.
Homemade chia jam is a great recipe to have on hand and one way to use up berries. Add it to whole grain toast, top it on oatmeal, yogurt, or enjoy with some hard cheese as a snack. All you need is 2 cups of berries of your choice warmed and crushed in a saucepan with fresh juice from one orange to naturally sweeten. Remove from heat and mix in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and you’re all set! Make it fun and exciting with herbs like thyme, basil, mint, or rosemary. Play around with it!
5. Freeze it for later and enjoy year round.
Frozen berries are easy to buy at grocery stores but it can sometimes be more cost effective to freeze berries while in season, or at a local farm that allows you to pick your own berries. To freeze fresh berries, simply rinse under cool water (remove leaves and stems if needed). After drying the berries, lay out in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in freezer. Once frozen, store in an airtight container or bag.
Berry Crumble Recipe (vegan)
- 6 cups berries of your choice
- Fresh orange juice from one orange
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- 2-3 Tablespoons coconut sugar, for flavor
- 1 Tablespoon rice flour (for thickening, can also use corn starch)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup oat flour
- ¼ cup rye flour
- ¼ cup ground flax seeds
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- ¼ walnuts
- ¼ almonds
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ cup vegan butter (cold and cut into small cubes)
- ¼ cup nut butter
- 2 Tablespoon poppy seeds
- ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 350oF.
In a large bowl, combine all filling ingredients and mix well.
In a separate bowl, combine all topping ingredients. Use your hands to mix all the ingredients together. Mixture should begin to stick together and create a “crumble” texture, or like loose dough. If mixture becomes too wet, add more oat flour and/or rye flour. If mixture is too dry and not sticking together, add more nut butter.
Scrape filling mixture and pour into an 8-inch baking dish. Spread the crumble topping evenly on top. Bake on center rack of oven for about 25 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and you can see the fruit mixture bubbling. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
Read more: Hydration 101 with Bonus Hydrating Recipes