Ever wonder how certain foods affect your body? Do you want to know which ingredients can help support your health? Are you looking for new creative recipes?

Welcome to our Food for Thought Blog Series that will aim to address these questions and more each month! Tune in for expert nutritional tips from Masha Fox-Rabinovich, outpatient dietitian and diabetes educator at Washington Adventist Hospital, and savvy cooking techniques from Randall Smith, executive chef for Adventist HealthCare.

Chef Randall

Chef Randall Smith

Berry picking season is here. There is nothing like a perfectly ripe wild berry pulled from the bush and eaten standing up in the midst of a thorny patch– perfect and rewarding! While most of us will likely not be trudging through the woods braving mosquitos and thorns to get our summer berries in season, we can get a hint of that joy in our own kitchens almost any day. I encourage you to simply eat them out of hand and not complicate things, but if you must manipulate I offer this recipe for a casual brunch with friends.

Sparkling Blackberry and Mango Juice

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 pints blackberries
  • 4 mangoes or 2 cups frozen mango
  • 1/2 peeled lemon
  • 1-1/2 cup sparkling water

Directions

Peel mangoes and cut into 2 inch slices. Discard the stone. Process blackberries, mango, and lemon through juicer. Pour juice into 4 glasses. Stir 3 ounces of sparkling water into each glass and serve immediately.

Notes on Using Fresh Berries

  • Most berries are interchangeable in recipes (with the exception of cranberries whose tartness demands some special treatment). Mix and match as you like.
  • Berries occasionally need sugar depending on ripeness. The best way to minimize the amount of sugar needed is to make sure your berries are ripe.
  • Try citrus or vinegars with berries. Just a splash brings the berries alive.
  • The bright, deep colors of berries bring life to otherwise plain dishes, salads and oatmeal. Use them in small amounts as a garnish.
  • Berries freeze well and will keep frozen for months. Simply rinse them well; remove the tops; spread in a single layer on a sheet pan; put into the freezer; and once frozen, tumble into a freezer bag.
  • Most berries should be eaten or used within 2 days of picking.
  • Berries are not ripe until they are very plump and sweet. They will not ripen off the vine.
  • Cranberries are a great addition to stews and braises. The acidity goes particularly well with wild game.