Berries! A Nutritional Quick Guide and Recipes

Strawberries have vitamin CBerries pack a powerful punch nutritionally, and they’re delicious and easy to build recipes around. They’re low in calories and full of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. For example, one cup of strawberries contains as much vitamin C as a glass of orange juice, potassium, and magnesium. Blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries may help reduce risk of cancer.

For best results, purchase berries from farmers markets or pick your own. If that’s not possible, buy berries in season at the grocery store, or try frozen berries. The advantage to frozen berries is that you can buy them in large quantities and not have to worry about spoilage.

The most common way to eat berries is straight from the bag. Other ways to enjoy berries include:

  • Mixing them in with cottage cheese, ice cream, cream cheese, or Greek yogurt for a delicious treat.
  • Combining with protein powder, other fruit, water, and ice to make a healthy smoothie.
  • Sprinkling them on salad, oatmeal, or cereal.

Berries make a flavorful, sweet addition to any recipe. Here are a few we know you’ll enjoy:

Strawberry Basil Salsa

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch Ground black pepper

2 tablespoons minced shallot

2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

1 package (16 ounces) Driscoll’s Strawberries

Whisk together lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

Stir in shallot and basil.

Hull strawberries and chop (you should have about 3 cups.)

Add to lemon juice mixture and stir until evenly blended.

Healthy Blueberry Bran Muffin

1 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cups packed brown sugar

1/3 cups flaxseed meal

1/3 cups raw wheat or oat bran

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoons salt

1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

1/4 cups orange juice or water

2 large eggs

1 package (6 ounces or 1 1/3 cups) Driscoll’s Blueberries

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Line 12 muffin cups with papers or coat with cooking spray.

Combine flours, sugar, flaxseed, wheat bran, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; stir well.

Stir together yogurt, oil, eggs, and juice in a small bowl.

Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture; stir just until blended.

Fold in blueberries just until batter is completely moistened.

Divide batter between prepared muffin cups.

Remove muffins from pan and cool on wire rack.

Bake 18 minutes or until golden brown and pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Mascarpone Dip with Basil Blackberries

1/3 cups balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon light brown sugar

1 package (6 ounces or 1 1/2 cups) Driscoll’s Blackberries

2 tablespoons thinly sliced basil leaves

1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Large pinch of fleur de sel or other flaky salt

1 container (8 to 8.8 ounces) mascarpone cheese

Crackers, for serving

Bring vinegar and brown sugar to a boil in a nonreactive small saucepan over high heat. Boil until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Pour into a medium bowl. Let cool.

Gently stir in blackberries, basil, pepper, and salt.

Fill a bowl with hot water. Dip bottom of the mascarpone container in water for about 5 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, unmold mascarpone onto a serving platter.

Spoon blackberry mixture over mascarpone, being sure to scrape all juices out of the bowl, and letting berries fall randomly.

Serve with crackers.


Water Soluble Vitamins: What Do They Do and How Do You Get Them?

vitaminsVitamins are either fat soluble (stored in fat) or water soluble, which means they dissolve in water and must be replenished daily. The fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K, and the B complex and C vitamins are water soluble.

Vitamin B Complex

The B vitamins, also known as the B complex, are a group of eight vitamins that perform a variety of functions in the body. They help your body’s cell division and metabolism perform at peak efficiency, aid your immune system’s function, and promote healthy hair and skin.

The main sources of the B vitamins are whole grains, beans and legumes (including peanuts), animal products, yeast, and green or cruciferous vegetables. The vitamins are listed below along with their common names and prime sources:

B1: Also known as thiamine, B1 is found in whole grains, cruciferous vegetables, and animal products.

B2: Called riboflavin, this B vitamin is found in dairy products and green vegetables.

B3: Food sources high in niacin include meat, fish, and vegetables.

B5: Find pantothenic acid in animal products and green vegetables. Women may recognize this as an ingredient in beauty products.

B6: Also called pyridoxine, eat plenty of veggies and meat to get your B6.

B7: Biotin (also an ingredient you might recognize from beauty products) is found in animal products and peanuts.

B9: Folic acid is a vital nutrient for a healthy pregnancy and is found in grains and leafy vegetables.

B12: This vitamin, cyanocobalamin, presents challenges to vegetarians and vegans because it is found only in animal products.

Vitamin C

Known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C aids metabolism, fights infections and acts as an antioxidant. It also promotes healing, such as from breast reconstruction surgery,  so we always suggest you ensure you’re getting enough. It’s found primarily in fruits and vegetables, as well as some meats such as liver. Sources high in vitamin C include peppers, berries, rose hips, and parsley.

The water-soluble vitamins are easily supplemented if the diet is deficient, though natural sources are always the best way to ingest them. These vitamins degrade when cooked, so raw foods are preferred. The important thing is that you’re receiving at least the reference daily intake (RDA) each day, as excess B and C vitamins are excreted in the urine.