Make the most of bountiful berries

By Carol Taylor, MCN, RDN, LD, Registered Dietitian and Journalist

Before the stone fruits arrive, berries burst into stores and farmers markets.

Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and the rest pack vitamin C and other phytonutrients that help fight the effects of free radicals, which can damage the body over time.
Berries, with their low carb profile are diabetes friendly as well as kidney friendly, mostly lacking significant amounts of potassium and phosphorus.

But they do pack fiber. Types of fiber include insoluble, soluble, and resistant starches. Insoluble fiber grabs water as it moves through the GI tract, keeping food and waste moving through. Resistant starches pass through undigested until they reach the large intestine, where they function as prebiotics for gut bacteria, allowing the good ones to thrive.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water during digestion. Some types of soluble fiber form a sort of “gel” in the colon. Others feed beneficial gut bacteria. Soluble fiber is beneficial to weight management, blood sugar control and healthy cholesterol levels.

Fiber can also help cut the risk of gastrointestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticular disease, constipation, and colorectal cancer.
Your fiber goal: 25 to 30 grams a day for women under age 50 and a little more for men. Those over 50 need 22-28 grams per day.

Mixed Berry Crisp

1 cup blueberries
2 cups strawberries
1 cup raspberries
(Total of 2.5 pints of berries (25 ounces)
2 Tbsp sugar
Lemon zest
2 tsp cornstarch
Pinch of salt

Crisp topping:
1½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch Pyrex pie plate.
  2. Gently combine the berries with the sugar, cornstarch, and lemon zest; place in the prepared pie plate.
  3. Mix the topping: Combine the oats, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Use a pastry blender or two knives to work in the butter until topping resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle evenly over the berries.
  4. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Bake in the center of the oven until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove the crisp to a rack to cool slightly.


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