Posts Tagged ‘blueberries’

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Washing Berries

June 14, 2016

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It’s berry season, and the markets are bursting with a variety to choose from. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are among the most popular of the mini fruits, and also the most delicate.

It is important to thoroughly wash berries, to remove debris. Running them under  water often damages them, as the stream provides too much force for something as fragile as a raspberry. The solution, is to soak, rather than rinse them, to get them clean. Strawberries, in particular, seem to make it to the dirty dozen list each year, due to their extremely high pesticide load. (Read more about the dirty dozen here.) Buying organic berries are recommended.

To properly clean fresh berries, place them in the basket of a salad spinner, and submerge them in cool, clean water to soak for several minutes. You can also add a couple of spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar to the first bath, to aid in the removal of debris. This may be too much acid for raspberries and blackberries, but for the sturdier varieties, the vinegar is fine. Use it sparingly, to make sure you don’t damage the fruit. Strain, and change the water a few times until the water remains clean. The vinegar is also helpful in fighting mold that develops quickly on soft fruit, like berries. Just be sure to get it all off before using them.

If you don’t have a salad spinner, a large bowl and a colander or strainer works as well.

Shake the strainer lightly, and allow the berries to dry before storing. (DON’T SPIN!!!)Place a folded paper towel in the bottom of the storage container to absorb any excess water and cushion the berries.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Tulipes With Frozen Yogurt

July 22, 2015

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Summer is all about ice-cream and frozen yogurt. An ideal weekend evening often involves a trip to Pinkberry and leisurely stroll on the Highline. It comes as no suprise that when our friends at Pinkberry invited us to taste their newest flavors, we jumped at the chance. Never one to leave well enough alone, it was only fitting that these new flavors be given a worthy vessel. That vessel happened to be tulipes, made of paper thin cookie batter, molded into freeform shaped bowls. They take a little practice to get them right, but they are well worth the effort when your friends swoon over your edible works of art. (And the delicious frozen yogurt inside!)

You can fill them with whatever you like, but we are kind of partial to berries, topped with a generous swirl of Pinkberry’s blueberry yogurt. Ok, maybe we should be honest and say we like them best when filled to the brim with frozen yogurt, and then spinkled with a few blueberries. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Tulipes:

Beat 2 egg whites until they form soft peaks. Set aside.

Beat six tablespoons of softened butter and 1/4 cup of sugar in a bowl until it is light and creamy. Continue beating and add 1/2 cup of sifted flour and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Fold in egg whites until combined.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425 degrees. Using the bowl you would like to use for a mold, trace a circle around it on a piece of parchment paper. Place no more than 2 circles on the paper. We used a large teacup for our template and mold.

Place the parchment paper with the ink side down and lightly brush it with butter. Add a dollop of batter in the center of each circle, and spread it evenly to fill the entire circle. Bake for 3-4 minutes until the edges are brown and the center is set. Remove the circles from the oven and quickly lift them off the pan one at a time and place them inside your cup, gently ruffling the edges to make it fit. Allow it to cool, and remove it to a plate. Do not bake more than 2 at a time, as they harden very quickly. It is important to work fast while they are still pliable, without burning your fingers. It may take a try or two to perfect your technique, but once you get the hang of it, it is pretty easy.

Fill the tulipes with fresh berries and a generous portion of frozen yogurt and enjoy!

Photo: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Frozen yogurt courtesy of Pinkberry

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Storing Berries

June 30, 2015

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Berries are plentiful and in season right now. Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are delicious and nutritious. They are also very perishable. One little speck of mold seems to sprout out of nowhere, and spreads through the entire box quickly. Most experts advise keeping them unwashed until you are ready to eat them. Not only does that not seem to help, but I find that unwashed fruit becomes uneaten fruit around here.

The folks at Food 52 have a solution, and we think it is a good one.

They advise soaking berries in a mix of three parts water and one part white vinegar, to kill the mold spores and bacteria that causes the fruit to spoil. After a short soak, rinse the fruit well to get rid of the vinegar taste.
Keeping the berries dry is critical to extending their shelf life. They suggest laying paper towels in the basket of a salad spinner to cushion the delicate berries, and give them a good spin to dry them off. Once fully dry, line a container with paper towels to absorb any additional moisture, and partially cover it, so that air can get in. Place the container in the refrigerator, and enjoy your berries for days to come!

Photo:  Glasshouse Images

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Turning a New Leaf

January 21, 2015

This year, kale has been touted as a superfood that is nutritionally superior to all others. It’s popularity has reached a fever pitch, to the point that it’s trendiness is starting to wear on us.

kale

kale

For those of your kale obsessed foodies, we have some big news.

The Center for Disease Control just released a ranking of 47 fruits and vegetables based on their nutritional value. The CDC took into consideration the amount of fiber, protein, potassium and vitamins.

I’m sorry to tell you that kale ranked 15th on the list. I know you’re devastated. But, alas, there are even healthier greens to explore. It’s ok. You might find one you like better, and you can start a new trend of your own.

watercress

watercress

Watercress took the #1 spot, with Chinese cabbage, chard, and beet greens coming in next. Spinach ranked #5 followed by chicory, leaf lettuce and parsley. Romaine lettuce is 9th and the #10 spot goes to collard greens. With leafy greens taking the top 16 spots, it seems you can’t go wrong if you go green.
Of the foods tested, 41 of the 47 were classified as “powerhouses”, which are strongly associated with reducing chronic disease.

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chard

Those that did not make the list are garlic, onion, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and tangerines. While still healthy choices, they failed to meet the team’s criteria for classification as a powerhouse fruit or vegetable.

See the complete report here.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Sinking Fruit

March 11, 2014

Blueberry muffins

When making muffins and coffee cakes with berries, it’s preferred to have them scattered evenly throughout the pastry. How do you avoid the blueberries sinking to the bottom? Make sure they are dry, and toss them lightly in flour before mixing them into the dough. The flour will keep them afloat, until the muffin is baked and enjoyed.

photo: Glasshouse Images

The Clean 15

June 5, 2012

We have written here about the “Dirty Dozen,” a list of produce that has the highest levels of pesticides and contamination. It is recommended that these foods be organic wherever possible.

There is another list called the “Clean 15”, which have the lowest pesticide load, and can be enjoyed in the conventional varieties.

These are:

Onions

Sweet corn

Pineapples

Avocado

Sweet peas

Mangoes

Eggplant

Cantaloupe

Kiwi

Watermelon

Sweet potatoes

Grapefruit

Mushrooms

Asparagus

Other foods, such as broccoli, cabbage and tomatoes have more recently tested cleaner as well, due to less pest threats, and therefore less spraying.

Many of these fruits and vegetables have a protective outer layer that gets peeled or removed before eating. This helps eliminate the toxins, which are largely on the outside of the food.

The current list of the most harmful foods tested positive for at least 47 different chemicals, and as many as 67. Buying organic insures that the fruit and vegetables are not treated with harmful pesticides.

Foods that should be organic:

Celery

Strawberries

Peaches

Apples

Blueberries

Nectarines

Sweet bell peppers

Spinach, kale and collard greens

Cherries

Potatoes

Grapes

Lettuce

This lists were compiled by the Environmental Working Group, which is an organization made up of scientists, researchers and policymakers. The data used was supplied by the United States Department of Agriculture’s tests for pesticide residue on fresh produce.

photos: Glasshouse Images

 

Unrecipe of the Week

October 2, 2009

Roasted Fruit

As the weather starts to turn, we start to crave warmer, heartier versions of our favorite foods. We love this simple roasted fruit dish. It’s easy, healthy, and versatile. Serve it with pound cake and vanilla ice cream, as a filling for crepes, or add a dollop to your morning oatmeal!

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Slice a variety of stone fruits, such as peaches, plums or nectarines and toss them into a glass or ceramic baking dish.

Sprinkle them with a little sugar.

Add some berries, such as blueberries and raspberries.

Toss in a cinnamon stick or two.

Bake in the oven at 400 for about 25-30 minutes, until the fruit is softened, the berries have given off juice, and it is starting to thicken.

Stir in a splash of orange juice.

Enjoy!

This can be served hot or at room temperature. If you want to make it ahead and serve it hot, take it out a little sooner, and wait to add the orange juice until you are ready to serve it.

Photo: Glasshouse Images


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