Berries are nature’s natural sweetener and they come loaded with benefits. Fiber, vitamins and antioxidants sweeten the deal.
Fresh strawberries are a plentiful spring and summer fruit, so load up on them at the farmer’s market. One cup contains 100 percent of your daily vitamin C needs and has just 46 calories.
Here are two great ways to turn a basket of berries into sweets. The first is a simple, low-sugar refrigerator jam that you can use in many ways, from a tasty topping for toast to a sweetener in smoothies.
Low-Sugar Strawberry Jam
- 4 tablespoons cold water
- 1-1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- 1 pound strawberries, chopped
- 1 tablespoon honey
Place two tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface; do not stir. Set aside to soften.
Meanwhile, place the strawberries in a heavy saucepan, along with the other two tablespoons of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until berries are softened, about five minutes. Stir in the gelatin and the honey. Chill at least one hour before serving.
Yield: About 2 cups
A fresh trifle is a tasty way to showcase seasonal berries, but most traditional recipes are heavy in fat and sugar, mostly from the lemon curd. By lightening up homemade curd and using yogurt instead of cake layers, this dessert is guilt-free.
- 2 large lemons, zested and juiced
- 1/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons butter, cut into bits
- 4 cups assorted berries, stemmed and halved
- 2 cups plain 2 percent Greek yogurt
Whisk the lemon juice and zest, sugar and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick and clings to the whisk, about six minutes.
Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the fridge until cold, at least 60 minutes.
When chilled, layer half the curd in the bottom of a glass bowl. Add a third of the berries, then top with 1 cup of the yogurt. Repeat with layers of curd, berries and yogurt and finally top with a layer of berries. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 60 minutes before serving.
Yield: 8 servings
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has more on strawberries, including recipes and even growing tips.