Summer means berries. Lots and lots of berries. The markets are brimming with them, from plump fire engine red strawberries to tart but juicy blackberries and everything in between.
The benefits of these delicate sun-kissed fruits are almost as wonderful as their taste. Loaded with antioxidants, berries help fight free radicals and offer up a good amount of Vitamin C which helps boost your immune system (a good thing when you have little petri dishes running around). As a high fiber, low carbohydrate and low glycemic index fruit, berries also help manage your blood sugar levels making them a great snack for those suffering from diabetes or gestational diabetes. Many berries, like strawberries and raspberries are also a wonderful source of folate, a nutrient the helps prevent neurological defects in the early stages of pregnancy and continues to provide benefits to women in their 2nd trimester, 3rd trimester and while nursing and beyond.
How to make them last:
Aside from being delicious most fresh berries are two things: relatively fragile and quick to go bad. The solution…a homemade produce wash. As with all fruits and vegetables, giving them a good cleaning when you get home helps remove any pesticides and bacteria. By doing so you can aso help extend the life of the fruit.
Take a look at this quick experiment I ran with some market berries.
On the left are the berries I rinsed with plain water. On the right are the ones I soaked in a homemade berry wash. After 7 days in my fridge those soaked in my homemade wash were still perfectly delicious. Good stuff!
Homemade Produce Wash:
Here is a quick and easy homemade produce wash you can use to get those vibrantly colored morsels of sweetness cleaned and ready to be eaten any time. No need to purchase a fancy veggie wash from the store; just use what you have in your kitchen.
1 cup water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Place your berries in a bowl. Cover the berries using with 1:2 ratio of water to vinegar. Allow the berries to sit for 5-10 minutes.
Pour the berries into a strainer and rinse with cold water.
Spread the berries out on a kitchen towel and allow them to dry. Removing extra moisture before storing will increase their longevity.
Tips: Wash all of your produce as soon as you get home from the market. Having fruits and veggies that are grab-and-go ready right from the countertop or fridge is a huge time saver!
You can use this wash on all of your fruits and vegetables, so give it a go!
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