Berries in Spring? Absolutely!
Spring means warmer weather, a time when it’s easy to get excited about planting a garden to enjoy homegrown fruits and vegetables all summer long. One of my favorite items from the garden is berries. Unfortunately, fresh berries from the garden will not be available for another couple of months in many areas of the country. But thankfully, frozen berries are available and taste excellent anytime of the year (this is not always true of fresh berries when they are out of season locally). Beyond taste, frozen berries are also just as nutritious as fresh berries. When harvested, they are flash-frozen to lock in nutrients.
Frozen Berry Nutrition
The nutritional profile of berries is phenomenal. They’re loaded with fiber! One cup of raspberries or blackberries provides a whopping 8 grams of fiber; this meets about one quarter of our daily fiber needs. One cup of strawberries or blueberries has between 3 and 4 grams of fiber. Common nutrients in berries include vitamin C and potassium. They all contain antioxidants and are virtually fat free.
How to Buy Frozen Berries
When shopping for frozen berries, read the ingredients. Sometimes they have added sugars. Look for varieties that only contain the fruit, no other ingredients. Berries are sweet on their own from natural sugars so there’s no need to add more. Another option is to freeze berries when picked over the summer.
Prep Ideas for Frozen Berries
Frozen berries come ready to eat (no washing or prepping needed) and can be used for more than just smoothies. Try thawing frozen berries to pack for lunch, add to breakfast cereal or hot oatmeal, or top a lettuce salad. One of my favorite things is to thaw frozen fruit and put it on top of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt (recipe below).
There’s no reason not to eat berries all year round. Frozen berries are economical, versatile, nutritious, ready to eat, and best of all tasty.
Greek Yogurt and Fruit Crunch
- 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup frozen berries of your choice, thawed
- ¼ cup crunchy cereal such as toasted oats or crispies made with brown rice
Top yogurt with fruit and cereal. Enjoy as part of a meal or snack!
Mary Jo Brunner, MS RD CD
Family Fresh Market