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Nutrition: A Bunch of Berry Benefits

Other than tasting absolutely delicious, berries of all shapes and sizes are extremely nutritious fruits. I know this is not new information for most people. In fact, one may be thinking, “I already knew berries were good for me.” I want to dive a little deeper and give you some fun facts about berries as well as different ways to incorporate the different varieties.

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First, a berry is botanically defined as a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary. They are typically without a stone (e.g., an apricot has a stone) and may have seeds in its fleshy pulp (e.g., a banana). Yes, a banana is actually a BERRY!! Same goes for pomegranate—it is actually a berry from a botanical point of view. Pretty cool, right?!

Here are the varieties of berries we see in our grocery stores and farmer’s markets:

  • Strawberries 

My favorite. A natural spring season fruit capable of transforming any tart or bland smoothie into something sweet. Incorporate strawberries into salsas, salads and sauces to add some additional fiber, vitamin c and potassium.

  • Blueberries

Antioxidant power house. A large cohort study out of the US, UK and Singapore found that people consuming 3 servings of blueberries, grapes, raisins, pears or apples per week decreased their risk of Type II Diabetes by 7%. 

  • Raspberries (golden, black, red)

Try the different raspberry varieties with Chef Karla’s recipe:  MIXED BERRY COBBLER

  • Blackberries

Rich in anthocyanins – the phytochemical that gives berries, beets, tart cherries and rhubarb their wonderful color – can help neutralize toxins produced in our bodies. Good thing ALL berries do this!

  • Gooseberries and Currants

Check out this currant recipe– KALE SALAD WITH PINENUTS, CURRANTS AND PARMESAN

  • Goji Berries

Mostly available as dried fruit; these berries are high in fiber, vitamin C, and richer in iron compared to other berries. These goodies pack a nice flavor punch to yogurts, homemade granolas, oatmeal, smoothies, salads and more.

  • Boysenberries

Boysenberries taste very similar to a blackberry. During the Great Depression, Rudolf Boysen planted this fruit in the Napa Valley region of California. Eventually, berry expert Walter Knott of Knott’s Berry Farms used this berry to create the amazing jam we all love.  You now have an interesting trivia question answered!

  • Cranberries

Try to incorporate the fresh, whole cranberries as much as possible. Dried fruit, such as goji berries, are higher in sugar content because they are so concentrated. Use sparingly to incorporate different textures and flavors to your whole foods.

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