The Dark Side of Berries



Dark colored berries are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Diabetics should eat or juice 2-3 servings per day. But don't forget...all fruits contain natural sugars that can effect your fasting blood sugar.

Light colored ones contain more simple sugars and less antioxidants than dark ones. However, you can eat 1 serving per day of lighter ones. The best thing to do is to juice them rather than eat them.

Can you name the different types of berries pictured below? Take a guess and than click on the image to see if you got it right. Clicking the images will also reveal some tasty recipes.

Blueberries

Blackcurrant

Cranberries

Elderberries

Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns? We would love to help. Submit the form below and Dr. Michael Smith, the Director of Clinical Information, will respond within 2-3 days.

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BlueberriesBlueberries
With flavors that range from mildly sweet to tart and tangy, blueberries are nutritional stars bursting with nutrition and flavor while being very low in calories. Blueberries are at their best from May through October when they are in season.

Blueberries are the fruits of a shrub that belong to the heath family, which includes the cranberry and bilberry as well as the azalea, mountain laurel and rhododendron. Blueberries grow in clusters and range in size from that of a small pea to a marble.

They are deep in color, ranging from blue to maroon to purple-black, and feature a white-gray waxy "bloom" that covers the surface serving as a protective coat. The skin surrounds a semi-transparent flesh that encases tiny seeds.

Blueberries are literally bursting with nutrients and flavor, yet very low in calories. Recently, researchers at Tufts University analyzed 60 fruits and vegetables for their antioxidant capability. Blueberries came out on top, rating highest in their capacity to destroy free radicals.

The most nutritional ones are grown in Alaska. The harsher environment leads to a greater concentration of nutrients inside the berry.

Depending on how cold it gets, Alaska blueberries can contain as much as 50% more antioxidants than ones grown in warmer climates.

Choose blueberries that are firm and have a lively, uniform hue colored with a whitish bloom. Shake the container, noticing whether they have the tendency to move freely; if they do not, this may indicate that they are soft and damaged or moldy.

Avoid ones that appear dull in color or are soft and watery in texture. They should be free from moisture since the presence of water will cause the berries to decay.

When purchasing frozen berries, shake the bag gently to ensure that the berries move freely and are not clumped together, which may suggest that they have been thawed and refrozen.

BlackcurrantBlackcurrant
Blackcurrant is the edible berry of a shrub, which usually grows to 1-2 meters and can be found in Northern/Central Europe and Asia. The plant's scientific name is Ribes Nigrum (which means "black ribes")

The berry has a 1cm diameter, has a black color, a calyx at the top and a rather glossy skin, and it contains several seeds. Black currants are often used in the kitchen because of their astringent taste, which adds flavor to many dishes and beverages. Black currants are also added to beer (Guinness), and some beer lovers think it actually makes the taste more enjoyable

Blackcurrants are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. In particular, they're very rich in Vitamin C (and for this reason they were used in the UK during World War II, because other foods rich in Vitamin C, such as oranges, were nearly impossible to find).

They taste very sweet and sharp, and they're used to make blackcurrant jellies, jams, added to desserts or as a part of sauces and dippings. Blackcurrants are commonly used to make cordial, liqueur, ice-cream and they can also be found in juice form.

CranberriesCranberries
A cousin of the blueberry, this very tart, bright red berry can still be found growing wild as a shrub, but when cultivated, is grown on low trailing vines in great sandy bogs.

The American cranberry, the variety most cultivated in the northern United States and southern Canada, produces a larger berry than the wild cranberry or the European variety.

Cranberries have long been valued for their ability to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections. Now, recent studies suggest that this native American berry may also promote gastrointestinal and oral health, prevent the formation of kidney stones, lower LDL and raise HDL (good) cholesterol, aid in recovery from stroke, and even help prevent cancer.

Fresh cranberries, which contain the highest levels of beneficial nutrients, are at their peak from October through December, just in time to add their festive hue, tart tangy flavor and numerous health protective effects to your holiday meals.

When cranberries' short fresh season is past, rely on cranberry juice and dried or frozen cranberries to help make every day throughout the year a holiday from disease.

ElderberriesElderberries
Elderberry has long been recognized for its medicinal properties. It may maintain healthy cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis.

The Elderberry Scramble is a great recipe.

Ingredients:

--1 lb Elderberries
--5 Peeled pears
--10 pitted damson plums
--Rye bread
--2 cups milk
--3 Tbsp Butter
--Salt, sugar and cinnamon to taste
--4 cups wheatmeal
--Juice of 1/4 lemon

Melt the butter and briefly saute the fruit. Make a thin paste of the flour and milk and add the mixture to the fruit. Add the remainder of the milk.

Add the sliced bread, and cook until the plums are soft. Season with salt, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.


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