Nothing says summer like a bowl of fresh local berries. Luckily, here in BC we have a variety of berries available right out our back door throughout the summer months. My first job as a teenager was picking strawberries. I fondly remember getting up at the crack of dawn and riding my bike to pick strawberries. Berry picking with the girls is always on our summer bucket list. Luckily, the girls are eager to role up their sleeves and get a bit dirty. Taking kids to pick their own berries is a great way for them to understand where their food comes from. It’s also a great opportunity to talk about the benefits of eating and supporting locally grown food.
Before you go:
Do your research before you go to find out what berries are available for u pick. Some farms may only offer one berry and may have limited u pick due to weather conditions. We missed the short strawberry season this year but Driediger farms had plenty of blueberries and raspberries available. For a list of u pick farms in your neighbourhood check out pick your own. I suggest you go as soon as the farm opens to avoid the hot sun. Remember to bring a sunhat, sunscreen, snacks, and stay hydrated with plenty of water.
One of my favorite things about summer is a big bowl of fresh, locally grown berries. I mean what’s not to love. Berries are well deserving of their “superfood” name. Blueberries are packed with fibre and antioxidants that protect our cells from damaging free radicals. Anthocyanin’s are powerful antioxidants responsible for blueberries deep blue pigment which may protect against glaucoma, peptic ulcers, and certain cancer’s such as colon and ovarian cancer. We enjoy snacking on berries, adding them to plain yogurt, pancakes, popsicles and baked oats.
Like, blueberries, raspberries are high in fibre and antioxidants. Did you know 1/2 cup of raspberries contains only 34 calories and 4 grams of fibre. Now that’s a perfect snack.
Preserving Summer’s Bounty:
I like to pick and buy extra berries in the summer months so that we can reap the health benefits and taste all year long.
Rinse your berries in a colander and remove any stems or leaves.
Place your berries on a clean towel or paper towel and let them dry completely before freezing.
Place berries on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze for at least 2 hours.
Place frozen berries in containers or freezer bags. Label and date berries.
Enjoy all year round in smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt or baked goods.