Summer is one of my favorite seasons. Oh, sure, the warm weather, long days, and slower pace are great, but what I really love about summer is all the fresh berries that are begging to be used.
Of course, I can make berry pies with frozen berries in the winter, and I often do, but frozen berries don’t work for everything. What’s that, you say? Fresh berries are available year-round in the supermarket? Well, yes, they are, but the fresh berries found in the supermarket in the dead of winter are imported, not to mention sorely lacking in the sweet, juicy flavor that makes fresh berries such a prize. Plus, to add insult to injury, they’re insanely expensive! It definitely pays to buy fresh berries when they’re in season, in more ways than one. So when summertime comes around and the berries are fresh and delicious, I like to use them in ways frozen berries can only dream of.
Fresh berries make breakfast an event. Want a hearty breakfast you can take with you in the morning? Make a Mason Jar Parfait. Layer Greek yogurt, granola, banana slices, and fresh berries in a mason jar, put on the lid, grab a spoon, and head out the door.
For a sweet treat, take a streusel-topped coffee cake and fold fresh blueberries into the batter to give dessert a summery twist. Here is a great streusel-laden coffee cake that is just begging for some fresh Wild Maine Blueberries. If you’re gluten-free, but still want to enjoy this treat, try adding blueberries to this gluten-free coffee cake.
To give fresh berries a savory twist, make your own version of the Summer Berry Salad from Wendy’s. Not only can you add more berries than they give you at Wendy’s, but you can make your own vinaigrette with ingredients you can actually pronounce! In this version, I used lettuce from the Farmers’ Market, fresh raspberries and blackberries, sautéed chicken breast, and toasted sliced almonds. The dressing is simply equal parts balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, with a pinch of salt and pepper. I didn’t have any feta when I made this, but a few feta crumbles on top would add a wonderful creamy accent to this delicious salad.
How do you take advantage of Summer’s bounty?