Oh, how I missed the sunshine hitting my face as I lie on the beach, the warm weather, summer festivals, and of course, the amazing seasonal colorful fruits, like berries, that summer so graciously blesses us with. After a long winter of buying imported and expensive fruits that don’t taste fresh, we can finally go to our local farmer’s market and buy an abundance of fruits, or even better, go picking at our local farm for a fun summer activity.
Summer is a time of colorful plates and drinks and experimenting with recipes. Other than Thanksgiving and Christmas, which are only one day each, summertime is an entire season filled with backyard parties, barbecues, food festivals; all of which are all places you can adventure and experiment with different types of seasonal fruits. One of those seasonal fruits are berries. Berry season in summer starts in June and the best time to get them is in mid-June to mid-July as they are just ripe enough for that sweet and slightly tangy flavor that we love.
Berries contain many health benefits, one of them being rich in antioxidants, and although that is an amazing benefit, there are so many others. For one, berries contain a lot of fiber, which can help regulate your bowel movements and reduce bloating. We can all benefit from that, especially if we are going to be in our swimsuits for a large portion of the summer. Berries are also a nutrient-dense food. According to healthline.com, they contain several vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin K1, to name a few. So, if you are deficient in any of these vitamins, upping your berry intake might do you some good. Some research suggests berries may help with reducing memory loss, decrease chances of getting diabetes, and much more.
Yes, eating a bowl of berries can be super healthy and beneficial. You can enjoy the fresh taste of a ripe sweet and tangy strawberry, blueberry, or blackberry on its own. But the flavors really elevate when you take these tasty, sweet fruits and crank them up a notch by turning them into recipes. What’s great about fruits, in general, is that there are so many different types of dishes you can come up with. You can grill them, turn them into a dessert, add them to a savory dish, or toss them into a salad. Berries are so versatile. Their size and color make them the perfect fruits to be incorporated into almost any dish. You can even use them in a mocktail or a cocktail. The summer is the best time to use berries not only because they are seasonal, but also because berries add a freshness to any meal and a lightness that keeps us satisfied without adding the extra pounds. We have incorporated three easy “berry” recipes for your summer months ahead.
If you are someone like me who loves something sweet after a salty meal, but it can’t be too sweet or overly filling, then you’ll enjoy making Bon Appétit’s Mix and Match Fool’s Recipe. This sweet yet light and airy dessert make for a perfect summer dessert.
Mix and Match Fools Recipe
For the Whipped Cream
- 1 cup chilled heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Small pinch of kosher salt
For the Macerated Berries
- 1 lb. any berries halved, quartered if large
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Small pinch of kosher salt
To make the whipped cream
- Using the largest (and widest) whisk you have, beat cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large chilled bowl until soft peaks form, 3–6 minutes, depending on how many breaks you take.
- Do Ahead (chef’s tip section): Whipped cream can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Just before serving, whisk cream once or twice to refluff, but don’t over whip it.
To make the berries and assemble
- Combine berries, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Let sit, tossing occasionally, until juicy, at least 15 minutes.
- Add berries to whipped cream and fold gently until mixture is streaky but barely combined (just one or two strokes should do it). Scoop into small glasses.
Summer isn’t summer without a nice cold refreshing drink. Raspberries are the perfect fruit to make a drink. The sweetness from the fruits and sugar, the citrus from the lime, and the bubbles from the club soda, make for a perfect fresh blend to drink while relaxing in your backyard on a hot summer day. This drink might take a few extra minutes in the kitchen, but I promise it will have you coming back for seconds and thirds.
Raspberry Lime Rickey
- ☐ Liquid and dry measuring cups
- ☐ Measuring spoons
- ☐ Stainless Steel or glass mixing bowl
- Hand tools/Gadgets
- ☐ Silicone spatula
- ☐ Citrus juicer
- ☐ Microplane
- ☐ Potato masher
- ☐1 Medium size pan
- ☐ Strainer
- 12 oz. package frozen raspberries
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons grated lime zest from one lime
- 1/2 cup lime juice It takes 3-4 limes to get the 1/2 cup juice
- Club soda chilled Ice
- Heat raspberries, sugar, and water in a saucepan over medium heat until the raspberries begin to release their juices, about five minutes. Mash the berries with a potato masher until the berries break down, then stir in the lime zest and juice.
- Simmer until the mixture is slightly thickened, about five minutes.
- Pour the raspberry mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl, pressing on solids to extract the liquid. This works best done in batches so the seeds don’t clog up the bottom of the mesh strainer. You should end up with about 2 1/2 cups syrup. Discard the berry solids. Refrigerate the syrup until completely cool, at least 30 minutes or up to 1 week.
- To serve, combine 1 cup club soda and 1 tablespoons syrup in tall, ice-filled glasses.
Nothing could be more welcome after our rainy, cold spring than these beautiful, bountiful strawberries. The balsamic vinegar and the grated lemon zest are a perfect counterpoint to the sweetness of the berries and the lushness of the whipped cream. It’s a wonderful treat on an early spring day or night. Don’t let the strawberry season pass by without tasting these. Here is the recipe:
Balsamic Strawberry Shortcakes
For the shortcake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup heavy cream plus extra
- 2 eggs
For the strawberries:
- 2 pints 600 grams strawberries
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest about 2/3 lemon
- 6 tablespoons 75 grams plus 1-tablespoon sugar
- 1-1/4 cups 300 grams heavy cream
- 1- teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the shortcake:
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Beat heavy cream and egg together in another bowl; pour into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. (If the mixture seems to dry, add more cream, 1 tablespoon at a time.)
- Dump the dough onto a lightly floured counter. Pat into a round shape about 1 inch thick and press it out into a circle about 8 inches in diameter. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut out circles, rerolling scraps as necessary to get more circles. Place them on an ungreased baking sheet several inches apart.
- In a small bowl, whisk one egg until blended. Brush the tops of the dough circles with the egg. Sprinkle evenly with the 1 tablespoon of sugar.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until light golden brown. Let cool on a pan or a wire rack until cool enough to handle, then transfer to a rack to cool until warm.
- Meanwhile, stem the strawberries, and cut each berry lengthwise into four or five slices. In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the vinegar, lemon zest, and 6 tablespoons of sugar and let macerate for about 30 minutes.
- Using a handheld mixer or whisk, whip the cream with the 1 tablespoon sugar and the vanilla just until it holds soft peaks.
- Split each shortcake in half horizontally. Set the bottom halves, cut sides up, on individual serving plates. Divide the strawberries and their syrup evenly among the bottom halves, then top the strawberries with the whipped cream, again dividing evenly. Balance the top halves on the whipped cream and serve immediately.
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Photographer/ Content Creator
Camila Pesantez is the owner of @camipphotography. She is a wedding, portrait, and fashion photographer based in New England. She loves capturing authentic, candid, fun, and spontaneous moments. In her spare time, Camila enjoys singing and serving at her local church, cooking, and spending time with friends.
What sparked your passion for the industry?
The creativity behind it. It’s what I use to express my creativity and feel free to express myself through it. The photography world is so diverse and the possibilities are endless.
Cake or Pie? Why?
Pie because it has a lot of texture and moisture and reminds me of a nice cozy fall day at home.
Favorite dish to cook at home?
Vegan meat pasta. I have my own recipe, and I make it at least twice a month