We are all constantly encouraged to consume our ‘five a day’ but if we realised just how pleasurable it could be, perhaps we would all try just that little bit harder! So if you can’t bring yourself to chop a banana over your cereal or to eat that apple at break-time, the good news is just a handful of delicious berries (e.g. eight to ten strawberries depending on size) counts as one serving of your 5 a day and there are countless ways to enjoy them.
Nothing screams ‘Summer’s here!’ quite like a bowl of juicy berries ripened to perfection. Luckily, Ireland has a climate that’s suited to growing soft fruits. When you buy freshly grown fruit, such as those from Keelings – one of Ireland’s main suppliers, you’ll be getting berries that are picked when approaching their peak of ripeness. Fruits and vegetables contain their highest level of nutrients when they are harvested and eaten as soon as possible, with minimal processing, just like Keelings in season strawberries right now!
Although strawberries are increasingly available year-round, they are at their peak in Ireland in June, July and August. With so much more to offer than the dessert bowl, the versatile strawberry with its fragrantly sweet juiciness and deep red colour can brighten up both the taste and appearance of any meal. Did you know the high iron content of strawberries makes them therapeutic for anaemia and fatigue?
Just coming into season, another delicious low calorie summer fruit is the raspberry. Fabulous on their own and a good source of Vitamin C, fibre and folic acid, raspberries are growing in popularity! Did you know there are over 200 species of raspberry and they rank among the fruits with the highest antioxidant strength?
Here are some recipes to get you started and help ensure day-long enjoyment of berries while they are in season: –
Irish Berry Pancakes with Natural Yoghurt
Serves 4 – 6
– 200g self-raising flour
– 1tsp baking powder
– 1 egg
– 300ml milk
– Knob of butter
– 50g of fresh KEELINGS IRISH blueberries, roughly chopped
– 50g of fresh KEELINGS IRISH raspberries, roughly chopped
– 50g of fresh KEELINGS IRISH strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
– Olive oil or a little butter, for frying pancakes
– Natural yoghurt, to serve
- Mix together the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Beat the egg with the milk, make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and whisk in the milk to make a thick smooth batter. Beat in the melted butter, and gently stir in half the mixed berries.
- Heat a teaspoon of oil or small knob of butter in a large non-stick frying pan. Drop a large tablespoonful of the batter per pancake into the pan to make pancakes about 7.5cm across. Make three or four pancakes at a time. Cook for about 3 minutes over a medium heat until small bubbles appear on the surface of each pancake, then turn and cook for another 2-3 minutes until golden. Cover with kitchen paper to keep warm while you use up the rest of the batter. It should make about 10 pancakes in total.
- Serve with fresh berries sprinkled on top, a dusting of icing sugar and natural yoghurt on the side
Chilled Irish Strawberry Mousse
– 400g low-fat cream cheese
– 150ml cream, softly whipped
– 50g icing sugar
– A squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice
– 250g fresh KEELINGS IRISH strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
- Tip the cream cheese and sugar into a large bowl, squeeze in a few drops of lemon juice and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy (you can do this an hour or two ahead).
Fold in the softly whipped cream.
- Gently stir in a generous handful of chopped strawberries until the mixture is streaked pink; taste and add a little more lemon juice if you like. Spoon into small glasses, cover well and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
- Serve with fresh strawberries on top.
These recipes and more are from the Keelings Book of Fruit, in stores now.
For more information on seasonal fruit visit www.bestinseason.ie