March 20, 2014 – It’s the first day of spring (hooray!), which means things are starting to get a little warmer and, depending on where you are in the country, thaw out. Trees are getting back their green, and the first of spring produce is, well, springing up.
However, we still have a few more months until our beloved berries start sprouting up across the country. When fresh blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries aren’t in season, we like to go for the next best thing – frozen.
Frozen fruits and veggies are often picked at the peak of ripeness and frozen quickly thereafter, helping to retain their nutrients and ensuring freshness. And when it comes to berries, some recipes are actually better – if not just as good – with the frozen ones. We’re not just talking about smoothies.
Take, for instance, the humble blueberry muffin. You can just as easily use frozen blueberries in place of fresh ones. No need to defrost – they will thaw during the baking process.
Make a simple berry sauce to sweeten up pancakes, plain Greek yogurt, oatmeal – you name it! Combine 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave nectar with 1-1/2 cups frozen berries in a small pot; bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes and then spoon the berry syrup on top of your favorite breakfast. Keep the rest sealed up in the fridge for up to a week or freezer for up to three months.
We also just love using frozen berries for dinner – yes, dinner! They work perfectly in sauces that complement certain meats – especially pork and steak. Bonus: kids often love the hint of sweetness. Here’s how you do it: sauté chopped onion in butter or olive oil, add frozen berries with a little water, and continue to sauté until thawed and berries have broken down, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add in balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with roasted pork loin or seared sirloin.
ALDI carries frozen blueberries, strawberries and mixed berries year-round (including organic varieties), so you can make your meals feel like summertime, all the time!
What’s your favorite berry recipe? Share with us in the comments!