We’re at the height of summer which means it's prime berry season. Whether you’re picking sunripened berries off the bushes yourself or choosing them in the grocery aisle, here’s a guide to selecting and eating these gorgeous fruit all season long:
HOW TO CHOOSE BERRIES Pick berries which are dark in color. They should be plump and firm, not shrivelled or soft. Make sure there are no damp patches which make berries susceptible to mold - they should be completely dry. Avoid raspberries that have retained their hull - that usually means that they were picked unripe and won’t be sweet. Blueberries may have whitish layer on the outside which is normal - this is a natural coating which protects the fruit during growth.
HOW TO STORE BERRIES Since berries are delicate fruit, don’t wash them before refrigerating; rinse only right before eating. For freezing, however, you should wash the berries first then spread them out on a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. After the berries have frozen, take them out and store in ziplock bags for convenience. Perfect for frosty and nutritious smoothies in the morning.
WHY EAT BERRIES
Blueberries Like most berries, blueberries are powerful sources of antioxidants that stop free radicals from attacking your body. They are also a great source of fiber and vitamin C. Feeling a little forgetful? Snack on a handful of blueberries - these treats may also help improve your memory (Health.com).
Strawberries This succulent red fruit is full of folate - a nutrient which may help your heart. It also aids in other parts of the circulatory system like the arteries. Eat strawberries regularly and its compounds may prevent artery plaque buildup and even widen the arteries.
Raspberries A serving of these soft, tart berries deliver an incredible 25% of your daily vitamin C and manganese. Plus, like other berries, raspberries are believed to help your heart and also contain a significant amount of dietary fiber.
BERRIES IN SKIN CARE Since you’re indulging in berries this summer, why not harness their powerful properties in skin care as well? Here are some of our favorites for pampering your skin this summer and all year round:
Strawberry Rhubarb Masque Bustle.com recommends this dessert-themed masque that gently exfoliates and removes impurities. The berry ingredients also brighten the look of skin and shrinks the appearance of pores.
Firm Skin Acai Masque With acai, raspberry and brambleberry, the blueberry ingredient in this masque delivers nutrients to the skin and is also a major source of antioxidants. Together, the berry ingredients reduce the visible signs of aging.
Which berry will you be enjoying this summer?