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Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries stand out among the vividly colored fruits we have come to know as berries or fruits of the forest. Their origins are not well determined, and what we call berries are different varieties of small fruits produced by diverse shrubs and wild plants from Asia, Europe, and America, vast, diverse regions spread around the globe. Berries also include currants and other fruits from South America, with names and flavors as exotic as caulker, murtilla, maqui, mine-miñe, elderberry, and rosehip. The Brazilian tropical jungle contributes with the amazing acai, and let us not forget the ubiquitous cherries.
The flavors of the different kinds of berries go from bittersweet to sweet and slightly acidic. They can be eaten fresh in their natural form, incorporated into yogurt or ice cream, used in jams, juices and sauces, added to desserts and specialty dishes, and they can also be used to prepare exquisite infusions. They have a low-calorie value and provide high levels of vitamin C and fiber to your daily diet. And let us not forget their amazing anti-oxidant properties.
The Food and Drug Administration of the United States—which controls everything related to food and medicine in the US and is a world leader in these matters—highlights the cranberry as a fruit with low levels of fat and sodium, cholesterol free, rich in fiber, refreshing, astringent, and diuretic, in addition to its high contents of vitamin C.
Independent studies confirm the antioxidant capacity of berries, which comes from the high concentration of plant pigments such as anthocyanins and flavonoids, which give them their intense and seductive red, blue, or yellow colors. It should be noted that modern medicine is placing great importance on the preventive action of antioxidants to counteract the free radicals associated with aging, heart disease, and degenerative disorders. We also know that the inclusion of certain flavonoids in our diet contributes to reducing the risk of male sexual dysfunction.
Three recipes using berries
This simple, quick, and delicious Raspberry Mousse comes from Patagonia.
1 lb. raspberries
1 ½ cups of sugar
360 grams of cream (whipped)
4 egg whites
Puree the raspberries with the sugar; add the whipped cream and then the beaten egg whites. Refrigerate for three hours and Voila! It is ready to enjoy. This dish is exquisite but not suitable for diabetics.
We also bring you two recipes using blueberries.
First, put aside any guilty feelings and get a quick source of energy. This is a delicious recipe for the traditional American Pancake Breakfast. Add blueberries to your favorite pancake mix. Once ready, stack four or five pancakes and cover with caramel, chocolate, or maple syrup. Garnish with more cranberries. Sinful, but worthwhile!
The pleasure can also be savory. Blueberries can adapt brilliantly to dishes featuring different kinds of meats. It is the case of chicken with chili cranberry sauce. To your usual chicken recipe, simply add some cranberry sauce and two “chipotle” chilis. Cook gently for 20 to 25 minutes and serve over rice or potatoes. ■