Does it drive you mad that you buy fresh raspberries one day and the next day they are totally moldy! Me too and I let it happen today when I had the power to stop it yesterday. Now, Darwin gets moldy berries for dinner and my vision of a green salad with raspberries, candied pecans, blue cheese and red onion is dashed upon the rocks.
To prevent this from happening to you with ALL your berries, by golly, heed this warning and follow these oh so simple steps that I blatantly ignored yesterday. (Note to self, “Heather – get your head out of the sand”.)
First, try to buy local berries that have not traveled. This makes for fresher berries and gives you “buy local” points. IF you must buy store bought berries, vs. pick your own or a farmers market, then make sure they smell fresh, are still firm, do not have a stained case (indicates overripe berries) and that there are no visible moldy little furry bits on ANY of the berries. Mold grows super fast and will quickly pass to the neighbor berry within hours. Kinda like a vicious rumor.
Second, when you get the berries home do not wash them. Berries do not like water. They want to be dry. Do not hull them until you are ready to eat. Get them out of those horrible plastic containers, which breed moisture and mold. Store them in the fridge in either a colander or spread out on a cookie tray so that if there is a sick little berry in the midst, it won’t ruin the lot. Keep cool and dry til ready to eat. Then give them a super quick rinse, spread on paper towel and let dry. Try not to rub them as they are delicate and will bruise. Berry Good.
With all that off my chest, I will now stop beating myself up for losing the berries and tell you some some berry fun facts. It is Summer after all and we should be embracing the berry not cursing the berry.
Lets talk Strawberries! In France these redheads are considered aphrodisiacs and newlyweds are served a chilled strawberry soup on their wedding night. The French also say that if you find a double strawberry and share it with someone else then you will fall in love with that person. Lesson here, chose who you share your berry with berry carefully. (Its just the mood I am in, sorry. Tomorrow we can talk about corn.) Badumbum.
As early as 1643 the American Indians were crushing strawberries into a puree and making strawberry breads.
Strawberries are the leading fruit crop in the US. That is such a boring fact. I would delete it, but I guess I am still admonishing myself over the raspberries. I promise not to tell you in four more paragraphs that blueberries are the 2nd leading.
I like to eat strawberries with a reduced balsamic & brown sugar glaze and a dollup of fresh whipped cream. Try it.
Blueberries. A wild bear will walk 10-15 miles a day to reach a blueberry patch and will ONLY eat blueberries until they are out of season. Devotion. Clear devotion. Do you think their teeth stain blue? On a VERY important day in my life where I was going to be standing before ALOT of guests, I made the catastrophic choice of having blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Gasps and cries from around the table alerted me to the fact that my entire grill was BLUE. Yeah, not good. A lesson for you my friends. The American Indians were digging the little blue guys too and used them in medicines. Early antioxidant enthusiasts.
I like to eat blueberries fresh from the colander, no adornment. Some things are best just the way they were made. Au naturale.
Raspberries. Thought to have originated in Eastern Asia, these little beauties are full of mysteries. Did you know they come in 4 colors. Red, Purple, Black and Gold. The golden ones are the sweetest of the four and the reds are the most popular. Its always like that isn’t it?
The Scottish produce the most amount of raspberries. (There I go again with boring facts). But there is train that takes them down to England on a train called the “Raspberry Express”. Not a much better fact is it. Ok how about this – they were used in the turn of the century to cure sore eyes and throats and to clean teeth. Now that last bit I have a hard time buying. After I eat raspberries I am, like for the next hour, picking little seeds out of my teeth. I have to go clean my teeth. Hmmm, maybe that’s what they meant. Anyway.
The French, again, have a great story about the raspberry. In the beginning there were only golden ones. One day a nymph named Ida (really? Ida?), was babysitting Zeus. She was picking berries and feeding them to him when she pricked her finger on a thorn. It bled onto the golden raspberry and from that day forward….well you see where its going.
I like to eat raspberries…uh…before they go moldy! I actually LOVE them in a fresh baked crostata. (Its in the book – last dinner party). So super easy.
1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 egg. Mix flour sugar in a bowl. Make a little well in center. Add egg. Combine to make a sticky dough. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll it out on a board making a 10″ circle. Mix fresh raspberries and a few teaspoons of sugar in a bowl. Pour into the center of the dough. Fold the dough up onto the berries, not covering them. Brush the dough with an egg (makes it shiny) and bake it til golden brown (30 min).
I am berried out.