Berries are in full season! That’s if you get to the supermarket early in the day: by midday, they seem to sell out. Whatever is still wrong with those supply chains?
Best of course if you pick the strawberries in your own garden or from a nearby farm. The effect of last week’s sunshine means they are plentiful and unbelievably sweet. But should we gorge on berries with impunity? What about the sugars they contain?
Berries do contain natural sugars, but they are also low in calories and high in fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants. For example, there are only about 8g of sugar in eight medium-sized strawberries. All berries are considered low sugar fruits. They actually may help improve blood sugar and insulin response, reduce the risk of heart disease and boost learning and memory.
There is a common misconception (especially among keto and paleo afficionados) that because fruit contains sugar, it should be avoided. However, the sugar in whole fruit does not count towards free sugars so it is not the type of sugar we need to cut down on. This is different from the free sugar in drinks, chocolate, cakes and biscuits, or in fruit juices and honey. The benefits of eating whole fruit far outweigh any potential downsides.
However, if you have diabetes or prediabetes or are on a mission to lose weight, you need to be careful about the fruits you consume and aim for low sugar fruits – which means berries are your friend!
So you’ll be expecting cake and dessert recipes to follow now, right? Not only: blueberry duck, anyone? Redcurrant jelly made at home will take your Sunday roast gravy or red sauce for venison to another dimension. And for breakfast make use of summer berries to put in a bowl with oats.
But of course it’s all kinds of delightful sweet things that we mainly make with berries.
Strawberry crumble cake is one of my favourites and I swap other berries to bake it in summer on a weekly rotation. Strawberry and cream Victoria sponge is a classic you MUST make at least once in a season, and so is strawberry fool, if baking isn’t your forte. And don’t forget Pimm’s or strawberry fizz cocktail for a sunny weekend afternoon.
Raspberries in this sponge cake are a delight, and you can also use them in these crumble bars.
And cherries which are a kind of honorary berry, I guess: how about cherry cream dacquoise gateau? It’s so good you’ll hate me for not being able to stop eating it. Or hate me even more when you make a batch of glace cherries in syrup!
And finally, you could put all the berries together in the buckwheat berry striped cake.
Have a berry good week!