It's here, the first day of summer! It's finally here! Along with fresh lettuce, one of the first signs of summer and the first "fruits" of our garden is berries!
About 5 years ago I began to garden with my grandma at a community garden behind a very small church. We each rent a subdivided plot of land for a minimal fee that covers water. Every year we till the humble land and plant various fruits and vegetables and donate around 10% to the hosting church to sell. I've planted some fun edibles over the years and love to pull anything fresh from the garden when I can.
Also, there are community items like herbs and berries! My very favorite time is when the blackberries are just perfect. Up until my grandma introduced me to vine ripened blackberries, I always thought they were a tart, almost flavorless- borderline bitter, berry that was more about the texture than the taste. But when you grab a blackberry off the vine, one that simply slides off because it is so perfectly ripe, the flavor is absolutely superb- it is hands down my favorite berry. I love the moment when you put it on your tongue and the pop of sweetness- that I can only describe as a mixture of red grapes and raspberries -invades your mouth. It's one of life's simple blessings.
Now you can't alway find fresh berries, so you may be relegated to the mass produced grocery store varieties, but that's okay! One of my favorite ways to enjoy berries (even bitter blackberries) is to tame it with cream and honey. This allows you to enjoy the textures and flavors of the berries, but also bring them together in one dish. Plus, it's a healthy way to enjoy fresh ingredients!
Well, what cream to use? I personally use Heavy Whipping cream. This is a high fat cream, so it will be incredibly tasty. It's about 38% fat (and I can only find it at a certain Warehouse store). However, there are alternatives. You can use just plain ole' milk, which will still bring everything together. Or, if you need to, Almond or Coconut milk (but these will slightly alter the flavor). There are also different types of cream:
- Half-and-Half: 12% fat
- Light Cream: 20% fat
- Light Whipping Cream: 30% fat
- Whipping Cream: 35% fat
- Heavy Cream and Heavy Whipping Cream: 38% fat
Whatever cream you use, don't overdo it because you still want to get the flavor of the berries coming through.
Now on to the honey. Use local raw honey. I could write several pages on how amazing bees are and how they seem to defy physics with their flight, their patrician habits, how they make gardens better, and so much more. Instead, I'll just urge you to go look up information about bees. And I'll tell you what, we should all bee just a little more like the honey bee (see what I did there?) Now, where was I? Oh, yes, honey. Local raw honey not only supports local farmers, but there are substantiations that are still being studied that honey from the vicinity in which you live helps keep allergies at bay. Think of it like a mini-vaccination against the allergies because the bees are using the pollen that is floating all around you.
Also, experiment with the different kinds of honey. Each has a unique taste depending on what pollens the bees had when they were making it. Your local apiarian can help you know what each type is.
Triple Berries n' Cream Recipe
- 3 types of Berries (Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries)
- Cream (Use the cream of your choice- I prefer 38% fat Heavy Cream)
- Honey (You can use any honey- I prefer local raw honey)
Put the berries in a bowl. Pour cream over it. Drizzle honey onto it.
This is a very loose recipe. If that stresses you out and you want to know exactly how much to put, try this: 1/4 cup of each type of berry, 1/2 cup of cream, 1 tablespoon of honey. There you go, stress abated.
Also, try it on frozen berries! My favorite is frozen blueberries because of the texture. The cream will freeze right onto the berry and you can break it apart and eat it immediately, or you can let it thaw a bit and then dig in. Enjoy!