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Healthy Home Cooking – Berry Delicious

by Healthy Exchanges

Hi! Thanks for joining us in the kitchen again, where we are giving you food for thought, as well as food recipes that are easy, healthy and tasty! Enjoy!

Berries laying in a bunch.One of the great benefits to living in the country here in the Midwest is being able to have my own garden and grow my own summertime berries. Then for those I don’t grow myself, I go to the farmer’s markets where I can find what I don’t grow. As a group, berries are rich in phytochemicals which may promote heart health and decrease cancer risk. Let’s take a look at the berry family members of raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, and blackberry.

Blueberries are small and sturdy, so they're perfect for tossing into cakes, muffins, cereal bowls, and fruit salads. Like other berries, they also make good preserves and tarts. Select firm, dark berries that have a whitish bloom on them. You can find fresh blueberries in the summer, but frozen blueberries are available year-round and work well in many recipes. They're very perishable, so keep them refrigerated and use them as soon as possible. You can also buy blueberries frozen, dried, or canned. Frozen berries get a little mushy after they're defrosted, but they'll work well in many recipes. One cup of fresh blueberries contains 21 grams of total carbohydrate and 4 grams of dietary fiber.

Blackberries are excellent berries except for their rather large seeds. They're still great for eating from your hand, but cooks often strain out the seeds when making pies and preserves. Select berries that are free of mold, and as black as possible. They arrive in markets in the summer. One cup of fresh blackberries contains 14 grams of total carbohydrate and 8 grams of dietary fiber.

Raspberries are hollow and fragile. It is a real challenge to get raspberries to consumers before they spoil, so you'll have to pay a high price for those that make it. Many don't, so check them carefully for mildew before purchasing. A good alternative is to buy them frozen. One cup of fresh raspberries contains 15 grams of total carbohydrate and 8 grams of dietary fiber.

Strawberries aren't as fragile as other berries, so they don't need the special handling that makes most berries so expensive. The best time to buy them is in the spring, but you can find them throughout the year, though the price might be higher and the quality lower. Select berries that have fully ripened to a dark red. One cup of fresh strawberries contains 12 grams of total carbohydrate and 3 grams of dietary fiber.

The plus side to these great tasting satisfying natural sweet, healthy snacks is they don’t require much to make them into a tasty treat. Just rinse and serve. But if you crave more adventure, here are a couple of delicious recipes to share with your family and friends this berry season! Yes, you can do canning with Splenda, so if you are one who still likes to do a little canning to have something on a cold winters day to remind you of summer past, you surely will enjoy this jam recipe. And for the summer, give this tasty salad a try.

BLUEBERRY-RASPBERRY JAM
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh red raspberries
3 cups Splenda
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup boiling water
1 (1.75-ounce) package Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin for Lower Sugar Recipes

In a large saucepan, slightly mash blueberries and raspberries with a potato masher. Stir in Splenda and lemon juice. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often. In a small bowl, combine boiling water and dry Sure-Jell, using a wire whisk. Add mixture to fruit mixture. Mix well to combine. Bring mixture to a boil again and continue boiling for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Carefully ladle hot mixture into hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and process in a boiling-water canner for 5 minutes.

Makes about 4 half-pints
Each 1 tablespoon serving equals:
8 Calories, 0gm Fat, 0gm Protein, 2gm Carbs, 0mg Sodium, 1mg Calcium, 0gm Fiber
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Free Food
Carb Choices: 0

FRESH FRUIT AND PASTA SALAD
3/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
2 tablespoons Splenda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup fat-free whipped topping
2 cups cold cooked tiny shell macaroni, rinsed and drained
2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup (1 ounce) chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine yogurt and dry milk powder. Stir in Splenda and vanilla extract. Add whipped topping. Mix well to combine. Stir in macaroni. Fold in strawberries, blueberries, and pecans. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Gently stir again just before serving.

Hint: 1 1/3 cups uncooked macaroni usually cooks to about 2 cups.

Serves 6 (1 cup) – Each serving equals:
164 Calories, 4gm Fat, 6gm Protein, 26gm Carbs, 148mg Sodium, 125mg Calcium,
3gm Fiber
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Starch/Carbs, 1 Fat, 1/2 Fruit
Carb Choices: 2


We hope you enjoyed our time together in the kitchen. Remember, if you’d like us to revise one of your family favorites so it’s healthier, send your request to: Healthy Exchanges PO Box 80, DeWitt, IA 52742. Also, be sure to visit our website at www.healthyexchanges.com for more information on how you too can receive the only national food newsletter for diabetics, heart/cholesterol concerns, and healthy weight loss. Until next time . . .