Field Notes Blog
by Christine Rosenbloom
As summer approaches I am excited for berry season because to me they are summer’s food gift—sweet and healthy, very healthy. Berries routinely top of the list of “super foods” and while berries belong to different botanical classifications, they share several common nutritional bonus points: they are all good sources of fiber (because we eat the skins and seeds of berries), they are rich in vitamin C, and they contain plant chemicals that help promote health and fight disease, all things important to those of us over 50. Here’s a quiz to see if you know “berry” much about their health benefits.
Question: Which berry is highest in vitamin C?
Answer: Strawberries. A half cup of sliced strawberries contains 40 milligrams of vitamin C—almost half the daily value of this nutrient. An important role for vitamin C is helping break down iron so it is easier to absorb, so add strawberries to a spinach salad or toss on top of your breakfast cereal to absorb three times the iron from the spinach or cereal than if you didn’t add the berries.
Question: Which berry is highest in folic acid?
Answer: Blackberries. Folic acid is a B-vitamin needed help prevent birth defects. A half cup contains 24 micrograms of folic acid and pregnant women are urged to get 400 micrograms a day.
Question: Which berry is the most popular in the U.S.?
Answer: Blueberries, with strawberries a close second. Blueberries are versatile, great as a snack, a topping for cereal or ice cream, or folded into pancake or muffin batter. They are a good source of potassium and vitamin C. They may also help to prevent urinary tract infections because they make the urine more acid so bacteria can’t stick to the walls of the urinary tract.
Question: Which berry has been found at prehistoric sites in Asia?
Question: It is said that picking this berry under a full moon will protect you from evil spells.
Answer: Blackberries; I’m not sure about the evil spell part, but blackberries have been identified as containing the most antioxidants per serving of any of 1,500 foods tested in a University of Oslo study. So, they might protect your from the evil spell of ill health.
When selecting berries look for deep, rich color and eat them soon after purchasing as they spoil quickly. Don’t wash berries until you are ready to eat them to prolong their shelf life. Eating berries can also contribute to your water intake; all summer berries are greater than 85 percent water.