Who doesn't love berries, they're delicious!! Not only that, they are SO good for us, probably one of the most perfect food that God has given us. What's so good about them? I'll get to that in a minute :)
Last weekend my hubby went to his family's property in old gold mining country, where wild blackberry bushes take over during the summer. He came home with about 4 cups of blackberries, but they were kind of mushy and (almost) too ripe. I wanted to make something with them to highlight their taste because I knew they wouldn't last in the fridge for a week while we munched on them non-stop. We'd have blackberry wine if I didn't use them up fast! So, I made a raw pie. Not the prettiest thing, but it tasted really good! Quick, easy, relatively nutritious too!
Raw Berry Pie
- 3-5 cups raw berries
- 2 cups dates
- 1/4 c raw almonds
- 1/4 c shredded coconut
- sea salt
- Blend in food processor: 1 c pitted dates, 1/4 c almonds, 1/4 c coconut, dash of sea salt and 1 tsp vanilla (I use Sunfood vanilla powder)
- Press crust mixture in to pie pan or square pan. I put a piece of bleach free parchment paper on top and press it down so that it doesn't stick. Put it in the freezer for 15 min.
- Blend in food processor: 1 c pitted dates and the berries. I used blackberries, about 4 cups. You can use any berries, and in any combination! I was thinking blackberry/blueberry would have been a good combo. Raspberry/strawberry would be good, so would raspberry/marionberry, blackberry/aroniaberry, etc. The combinations are endless! Frozen berries can be used too, but fresh always taste better
- Take crust out of the freezer, pour berry filling on top. Put in freezer for about an hour, then store it in the fridge after that. Easy!!
Yay for Berries!
Not all berries share the same health benefits, but overall they are extremely good for our health. Keep in mind that berries vary so much depending on where you live and what's available to you.
Some berries you may have not heard of that are worth looking in to are aronia berries and goji berries. Currants and choke cherries also have many of the same healing benefits as berries. Other berries to consider are black raspberries, marionberries, huckleberries, olallieberries, lingonberries, golden raspberries, cranberries, gooseberries, barberries, elderberries ... the possibilities are endless!
I've seen a lot of blog posts and Facebook comments about berry foraging lately, so this seems to be gaining popularity. Basically, you go out in to the wild and pick berries! There are so many varieties of wild berries in the forests all over the place, and most are edible. Please make sure you have a field guide and have done your research before eating wild berries to be safe! Wild berries are untouched in their natural form and contain many nutritional benefits, so if this sounds fun to you, go for it! Picking berries is fun and very rewarding, but also time consuming, so bring snacks, water, and some friends so that it becomes a fun experience.
Health Benefits of Berries
- heart health
- omega 3's
- B12 (goji berries and black currants)
- promote good circulation
- lung health
- digestion and colon health
- promote a healthy pancreas
- spleen health
- good for the liver and gall bladder
- strengthen the bones
- full of anti-oxidants
- promote healthy eyes and brain
- bladder health
- red raspberries are especially beneficial for the uterus and ovaries
- cranberries and blueberries are extremely beneficial for the prostate
You may have heard about goji berries, and you probably have not heard about aroniaberries. Well, no excuses anymore!!
Goji berries are high altitude berries that are known to grow in the Himalayas. But that doesn't mean you can't try to grow them anywhere!! They have essential omega fats, 9 amino acids, and more vitamic C than oranges! They also contain 21 trace minerals, some are very rare and barely ever found in other foods, like geranium. They contain beta-sitosterol, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and a full spectrum of anti-oxidants. They contain vitamin B12 (and those naysayers boast that vegans need to take B12 supplements, not so!!) and promote joint health, cardiovascular health, and have anti-aging benefits.
I have tried many kinds of goji berries, from the bulk food bins to Whole Foods to specialty health food stores. I HIGHLY recommend Sunfood goji berries. They taste the absolute best out of all the other goji berries I've tried. Earth Circle Organics come in second, but given the choice I definitely prefer the Sunfood goji berries. They are a great snack by themselves, put them on cereal, in muffins, on top of ice cream (vegan of course made with coconut, cashews, etc) or in stir fry. They are extremely versatile and have a nice blend of sweetness and tartness.
Aroniaberries (chokeberries) are a small, very dark purple berry that are extremely high in anti-oxidants (more than any other berry) and have a nice tart flavor. They grow in North America and Europe, and can probably grown in your backyard! Their health benefits are extremely impressive! They are anti-inflammatory, improve circulation, promote respiratory health, are good for the digestive system, promote heart cell health, protect the liver from chemical damage and are overall amazing for our health!
You can find aroniaberries at superberries.com. The concentrate is very good and is not juice but fresh pressed berries, so it contains the skin and seeds. The frozen berries are very high quality and survive being frozen over any other berry because of their high anti-oxidant content. The freezer barely damages them so they are great to have on hand!
I hope you take advantage of the bounty of berries that are available right now in the summer! They are great to eat all day long. Remember, organic and raw are always the best choice because they contain the most nutrients. Berries that are not organic are heavily sprayed with pesticides and will do more damage for the body then they will do good.
Enjoy berries, natures beautiful, nutritious gift of summer!