This is the season for berries. Just wanted to write about a few basic tips when buying, storing and cooking with berries.
Buying: Always buy berries that are plump, firm, dry and free of blemishes or mold. Follow your nose; the most fragrant berries will taste the best.
Storing: Never wash the berries until you are ready to use or eat them. Moisture promotes mold. You do not want damp berries sitting in the fridge. I leave my berries in the container I purchased them in (you know the one with the air slits).
Cooking: Large, heavy berries (blackberries) will always drop to the bottom in a thin cake batter. Make sure your cake batter is thick enough to stop the berries from sinking. Add berries just before baking to avoid bruising them. If you decide to use frozen berries (which are a great alternative) remember they will produce more juice. You may want to reduce the liquid and increase the thickener in pies and cobbler recipes. When sweetening berries, add sugar approximately 1/2 hour before serving. This will draw moisture out and make a juicy, sweet syrup. Finally, adding heavy cream to berries a few minutes before serving allows the berries’ acid to thicken the cream even more – YUMMY!