Berries are such an important food because of their low sugar index & high antioxidant content, described in previous posts on sugar and its connections to Diabetes & Alzheimers, and they are top of my superfoods list - top of the superfruits list I should say.
To get them into one's diet year round (as would be our natural diet in the seasonless tropical forests we evolved in), we turn to frozen or dried. That is a poor second to fresh, so when the moment is here, don't miss it.
The moment is now !
We have reached that time of year where the berry bushes are bursting, and the only struggle is harvesting them all before the birds and bugs.
Whilst I do love hand-picking and munching my way round the garden, I also know that I could do that all day, as they aren't filling, and I would consume the whole crop in an afternoon.
So, I make something yummy and dense to include them in.
But first of all I go picking from the various bushes we have in the garden.
Oh, what a chore...
It takes a year or two to get a decent crop from berry bushes that have been relocated, but seriously, we do nothing to them for the rest of the year.
I am told we would get much higher yields if we were to load them up with manure in the autumn, and protect them against the birds with netting, etc...
But I have barely enough time to water the things in my polytunnel to stop them dying, let alone pander to the optimum needs of a garden full of fruit bushes.
So, we get what we get, and I have to say, for no input, there is still quite a lot of output ! Permaculture-style !
The ubiquitous strawberries.
Tart-as-you-like black currents.
Raspberries, and yellow raspberries - supposed to be an early crop, but I can't say that is the case.
Gooseberries (which I could barely find under the overly wild hedge this morning)
And in the coming weeks, it will include blackberries (thornless ones that we planted, as well as the local, spiky versions).
Wineberries, duo berries, and finally apples, which are looking very cute at the moment.
Maybe even a fig or two if we're lucky.
And then into the kitchen...
I simply put all the berries I have collected into a bowl, and make up some yummy, thick cream equivalent from the cupboard.
Personally, I am not to fussy about things that come in from the garden.
If there is a bit of soil on them, I just blow it off. I rarely wash foods - especially from the garden (where I use no chemistry of course), and I understand the value of soil bacteria in the gut.
Bugs equally just get blown back onto the ground where they came from.
But that's just me
(and every other non-human animal on the planet)
I grab a handful of nuts and seeds from the cupboard (one day they'll be from the garden too perhaps) !
It is always better if nuts and seeds are soaked overnight before using them : For reasons discussed in many previous articles.
In this case cashews and brazil nuts go in the blender, and a few mulberries to make it sweeter.
The pine nuts and coconut are going to find their place on top.
I find the best way to blend nuts and seeds is to put them in without any liquid, and let the blades go to work on the dry nuts first. If they've been soaked, many of them will cling to the sides of the blender and never meet the blades, and so once the blades are freewheeling, then I add a touch of water to get things moving again, repeating this process with a keen eye to not burn out the blender !
If it gets too thin at any point, then I simply add more nuts again - of course, using this method of more-nuts-more-water methods of reaching perfect consistency can result in far too much nut cream, but needless to say it never makes it to the compost...
It rarely makes it until lunchtime...
Into this mix also go the mulberries to create the required sweetness. And if they had been soaked, then the blend might not have required any more sweetness than just the soak water.
Then it is just a matter of pouring the nut cream over the berries.
Oh yeah, and eating !
Personally, this fulfils numerous criteria for me.
Fast, Nourishing, Filling, & Gorgeous
Sweet hit : It satisfies my need for sweetness first thing in the day, so I am not plagued by such things later. If it does come up again for me later, then I simply eat more fruit.
Sugar Uptake : Utilising the slow digestion of nuts and seeds, it decreases the uptake of sugars - without interfering with the bacteria that want to make use of them - unlike grains which will slow things down, but ferment in the meantime.
Yumminess : Making any dietary change is only sustainable (for me) if the alternative is more delicious than the original. Thankfully, this is such an old game for me, I can't even remember what the bland originals were.
Air miles : This is one of the few times of year when my banana intake decreases, and my personal food-miles come down. There is nothing like eating from the garden.
Duration : It takes longer to eat than it does to make !
The idea of spending hours boiling these things down with masses of white, refined sugar, wrapping them in white wheat pastry, and then baking them for an hour, into a pie or whatever - for it to be demolished in 3 minutes - what a joke !
All that energy and heat destroying those most fabulous nutrients.
Plus completely foreign & undigestible combinations. !
Come on - the main ingredient - sugar - is only been an affordable food source for 100 years.
What were we sweetening all these pies and pastries with before then ?
Sorry to all the pseudo-traditional bakers out there, but sugar doesn't grow on trees, you know - especially here ! It requires mass industrialisation in tropical lands where sugar beet and sugar cane are now mass-produced, at the expense of the local forests, wildlife, and native peoples - plunged into slavery for generations.
And for what ? To produce one of the most ubiquitous, accepted, dangerous and damaging addictions seen on this planet... Far worse than any illegal drug, and all the cartel violence that goes with it, but just as profitable, political and destructive.
How did I get all political suddenly, I am sure I was talking about berries a minute ago.
Must be the sugar kicking in...
I best go have some more nuts...