Bring on the Berries

Beautiful berries add a bounty of flavor to summer meals

Enjoy beautiful local strawberries during this time of year.

It's berry time, which I love. When the strawberries are in, you don’t want to eat anything else. If possible, search a farmers’ market or ask your grocer for local berries. They will beat the taste of any that are picked green and schlepped up your local grocer in a truck.

Strawberries are high in antioxidants, vitamin C and folate and are a fair source of fiber and potassium, which help kidney and heart health.

My favorite way to serve local berries is European-style. Just fill a bowl with sliced berries, top with a small dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with brown sugar. It doesn’t get any better. Here are some other delicious ideas.

Strawberry Pie

Pastry for 1-crust pie, baked

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon water

4 cups strawberries

1 ½ cups sugar

1 cup boiling water

3 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ cup water

Several drops of red food coloring

Mix two tablespoons of sugar with one tablespoon of water and boil for three minutes. Brush over hot baked pie shell. Bake for two minutes more and let cool. Wash, hull and drain berries. Set aside several for a garnish. Put three cups of berries in pie shell. Mash remaining berries and add to boiling water along with the sugar. Simmer 5 minutes. Rub through sieve. Mix cornstarch and water and add to berry mixture. Cook 5 minutes, until clear. Add food coloring. Remove from heat and beat well for 2 minutes. Pour over berries. Garnish with whipped cream and saved berries. Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional information:

Calories: 302, Protein: 2 g, Carbohydrates: 58 g, Sodium: 140 mg, Fat: 10 g

Strawberry Sherbet

1 ½ cups of strawberries, fresh or frozen

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 cup crushed ice

¾ cup half and half or heavy cream

½ cup sugar

Few drops red food coloring

If frozen, thaw strawberries just until they break into chunks. Place strawberries, lemon juice, crushed ice, cream, sugar and food coloring in blender. Blend until mixture is smooth and sugar is dissolved. Pour into covered dish. Freeze until firm. Makes 6 half-cup servings.

Nutritional information:

Calories: 185, Protein: 1 g, Carbohydrates: 22 g, Sodium: 13 mg, Fat: 11 g

Low-Carb Strawberry Bavarian Cream

1 tablespoon gelatin

2 tablespoons cold water

1 ½ cups finely crushed strawberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar substitute

¾ cup whipping cream

Soften gelatin in cold water. Then heat until mixture is warm and gelatin is dissolved. Add crushed strawberries, lemon juice and sugar substitute. Cool. When almost set, fold in whipping cream. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional information:

Calories: 134, Protein: 3 g, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Sodium: 14 mg, Fat: 11 g

The information in this column is meant for people who want to keep their kidneys healthy and blood pressure down by following a low-sodium diet. In most cases, except for dialysis patients, a diet high in potassium is thought to help lower high blood pressure. These recipes are not intended for people on dialysis without the supervision of a registered dietitian.

[Katy G. Wilkens is a registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers. A recipient of the Susan Knapp Excellence in Education Award from the National Kidney Foundation Council on Renal Nutrition, she has a Master of Science degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Washington. See more of her recipes at www.nwkidney.org.]

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