Happy June! For me, the next couple of months are all about the berries. Sure, you can get them year-round, but these finger-staining gems are entirely different animals in peak season. Not only are in-season berries at the height of juicy sweetness, they’re also much cheaper, so eat up!
One challenge with seasonal berries is that they are so perfectly ripe that they need to be eaten within a day a two. If you find yourself with ready-to-eat berries that you’re not quite able to polish off, don’t fret, just freeze!
- Pour berries out onto a plate or shallow dish in single layer and freeze until firm.
- Transfer berries to resealable plastic bags and freeze. (They’ll keep up to a year, so you can look forward to sun-ripened fruit on your oatmeal in February!)
P.S. If a few berries in your pint go bad, you don’t need to chuck them all. Just pick out the moldy guys and rinse the rest. Use rinsed berries immediately.
Berry BBQ Sauce
I am particularly fond of adding the rich, round sweetness of berries to savory dishes. Here’s one of my favorite recipes for grilling season; try it this summer with your favorite berry. I like strawberry with chicken and blackberry with ribs.
Makes about 1 cup
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2 cups ripe berries (like, blackberries, blueberries, hulled strawberries, or raspberries) or hulled cherries
2 small cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon molasses
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
- In a blender, puree the berries, garlic, ketchup, molasses, vinegar, hot sauce, sugar and salt, until smooth, about 30 seconds; strain through a fine mesh sieve.
- Serve alongside grilled meats as a dipping sauce or brush on while grilling. Also great as a sauce for pulled pork or slathered on burgers.
Note: if you brush the sauce on raw meat while grilling, discard leftover sauce that has come in contact with the meat; do not use the same sauce to serve alongside. To avoid cross-contamination, separate the sauce in advance: one portion for raw meat and a second portion for using as a dip.
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