Recipes

Berries 101: Whatever the variety, they’re little gems of nutrition

By Debbie Arrington

Blackberries and other cane berries are high in vitamin C, dietary fiber, vitamin K and manganese.
Blackberries and other cane berries are high in vitamin C, dietary fiber, vitamin K and manganese. jleonard@newsobserver.com

Nutrition: Berries vary in look and flavor but are similar in nutritional content. One cup of fresh raw blackberries has 62 calories; likewise, one cup of raspberries contains 65 calories. Boysenberries have 70 calories per cup. All three offer half of the recommended adult daily allowance of vitamin C (per 1 cup serving). These cane berries also are high in dietary fiber, vitamin K and manganese.

▪ Blueberries, known for their wealth of antioxidants, have more natural sweetness – and calories, 85 per cup. Blueberries’ vitamin C content is half that of cane berries.

▪ Among popular berries, strawberries have the highest vitamin C content – three times that of blackberries – and rank lowest in calories. One cup of raw strawberry halves contains 49 calories.

Selection: For most varieties, choose berries that are shiny, plump and firm. Strawberries should have bright green caps. Avoid berries that are bruised or leaking juice. Also avoid withered or wrinkled blueberries.

Storage: Remove any squashed, moldy or deformed berries before storage. Transfer unwashed berries to a shallow, lidded plastic container, lined with a dry paper towel. Store up to one week in refrigerator before use.

Preparation: Handle berries as little as possible and with great care. Wash just before using and gently blot dry. Strawberries should be hulled after rinsing. To hull, remove the stem and green cap with a slight twist or with the tip of a knife. Likewise, remove any caps and stems from cane berries. Remove any blueberry stems.

Freeze for later: All berries freeze well, although cane berries will lose their shape when defrosted. Gently wash berries, dry on paper towels, then spread them out on a rimmed cookie sheet. (Strawberries should be halved or sliced.) Freeze until solid, then transfer to a zippered plastic bag or covered container. Store in freezer up to six months. Or mix washed berries with sugar (2 tablespoons or more per cup of fruit) and store in freezer containers.

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