Time for berries and fruit
Mid-summer is time for berries and fruit!
Our currant bushes are loaded with red berries. In the woods, blueberries and raspberries are ripening. At the farm stand, I bought New York peaches.
Tiny, tasty, loaded with nutrients, berries of all types are one of the joys of summer. Enjoy gathering them with friends and family in the woods, on a farm, or in your garden. Then enjoy eating them — plain, in morning cereal, topped with yogurt or ice cream, or baked into cobblers, pies, muffins, scones, cakes. And don’t forget to freeze some for baking on cold winter days!
Our wild Adirondack lowbush blueberries, V. angustifolium, only reach 1-2 feet in height. These cold-hardy plants grow wild in sandy, well-irrigated acidic soils as far north as the Arctic. American Indians used them, and dried them for winter use.
With only 40 calories per cup, blueberries are a nutritional powerhouse. In addition to fiber and vitamin C, they are loaded with antioxidants, flavonoids, anthocyanins, pterostilbene, ellagic acid, and many other powerful nutrients.
Tart currants are not as popular as sweet blueberries, but they contain double the antioxidants. They also have four times more vitamin C than oranges and double the potassium of bananas. Native to northern Europe and Asia, they grow well in our Adirondack climate. There are several varieties, including red, white, and black fruit that vary in flavor and astringency. A common ingredient in German custard tarts and Scandinavian fruit soups and puddings, their tart flavor complements both sweet and savory dishes.
Fragrant, tender, juicy and sweet, fresh peaches are also one of the joys of summer. They are so different from fruit shipped from California, which arrives hard as a rock and often becomes mealy and rotten before ripening. So take full advantage of fresh peaches while they last.
A peach is a perfect snack or dessert just as is. When you’ve had your fill of plain peaches, try them in ice cream, a salad, or a smoothie. Or bake a peach crisp, pie or cobbler.
Enjoy these fruits and berries now, while they’re fresh. There will be time to bake with those you froze when cooler winter days set in.
Sweet Summer Pasta Fruit Salad
8 ounces pasta (I used 1 cup of shells; wide noodles like egg noodles or corkscrews are also good)
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup sour cream
3 Tablespoons maple syrup (or to taste — a little less or a bit more)
1 or 2 peaches
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup red currants
Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.
While pasta is cooking, whisk sour cream with yogurt and maple syrup until well blended.
Drain pasta; place in salad bowl. Stir in cream. Fold in chopped peaches, berries and currants.
Two-Berry Peach Cobbler
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 or 2 peaches
1 cup blueberries
2/3 cup black or red currants
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (375 for a glass baking dish).
Prepare (oil) a 9 x 9 baking pan.
Melt the butter.
In a bowl, whisk or stir flour with baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir in milk and melted butter with a fork to make a soft dough.
Combine fruit in baking dish.
Spread or spoon topping over fruit.
Bake until topping is golden brown — about 30 minutes.
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Author of the award-winning cookbook “Garden Gourmet: Fresh & Fabulous Meals from your Garden, CSA or Farmers’ Market,” Yvona Fast lives in Lake Clear and has two passions: cooking and writing. She can be found at www.yvonafast.com and reached at email@example.com or on Facebook at Words Are My World.