Summer Squash

This summer is the first time in a few that summer squash is missing from my garden. You hardy need a green thumb with this easy to grow plant and I have always had extreme success. It is an incredibly prolific plant – the more you pick the more it gives. Like winter squash, it is an edible gourd. Summer squash is best harvested or purchased when young, tender and under a certain length or diameter – depending upon its shape.

 

One year, after planting several zucchini plants, I found myself with more than I could ever eat or do anything with, friends and neighbors had plenty of zucchini. Planting a couple plants of each variety will yield plenty fruit, and you may still find there will be plenty to give away.

 

Varieties of Summer Squash

Three types of summer squash varieties most familiar and available at farmers markets and grocery stores:

Scallop Squash [also called Pattypan or Scallopini], Yellow Squash [crookneck or straight], and Zucchini [also called Courgette], are three types of summer squash varieties most familiar and available at farmers markets, co op’s, and grocery stores.

Nutritional Profile and Benefits of Summer Squash

Zucchini, yellow squash and scallop squash are close equals when it comes to their nutritional value. Keep the peel in tact, this is where many of the nutrients are found, so avoid peeling summer squash.

Calcium | Carbohydrates | Dietary Fiber | Manganese | Potassium | Vitamin A | Vitamin B9 [Folate-Folic Acid] | Vitamin C

Selecting and Storing Summer Squash

Look for summer squash with firm and glossy skin. Handled with care as summer squash bruises easily. Ideally, zucchini and yellow squash should be less than 6 to 8 inches in length and scallop squash should be less than 3 to 4 inches in diameter.

Refrigerate unwashed summer squash in an open or perforated bag for up to a week.

There are two ways to preserve summer squash by freezing, first wash it, then cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop away any seeds from the middle section. Rinse and make slices, cubes or grate. The second option is to freeze the squash whole. Keep in mind that freezing softens the flesh of the squash. Frozen zucchini keeps up to 4 months.

Tips for Preparing Summer Squash

Summer squash mix well with onions, tomatoes and okra in vegetable medleys. Summer squash can be used interchangeably in most recipes. Tiny baby squash can be used as appetizers.

Don’t waste male squash blossoms by leaving them in the garden. If you do not have the time or inclination to prepare them separately, toss them in the salad bowl or add to any squash preparation.

Wash and trim summer squash before using. Cut into appropriate sizes or pieces [grate, thinly slice] for your recipe.

Peel and seed any older, tougher, oversized squash. Cut squash to appropriate size when preparing your recipe.

Serving Suggestions

 

Summer squash is great raw served as a low-calorie snack, as part of a vegetable platter with an accompanying dip, tossed in salads, or stuffed.

Because of its mild flavor, it makes a nice substitute for cucumbers in some recipes.

Basil, chives, dill, marjoram, mint, and pepper are some herbs and spices well suited to enhance the mild flavor of summer squash and garlic, onions and tomatoes team well with summer squash.

Don’t forget the zucchini blossoms. Both the male and female flower blossoms are edible [the male blossom grows from the stem and the female blossom grows from the zucchini fruit]. A well-known way to serve zucchini blossoms is to stuff them. They can be used to garnish a dish or add to salads and soups.

Chilled Blueberry Pie with Lemon Cashew Crust

Yesterday, I finally had the chance to create my first raw blueberry pie. Armed with two pounds of fresh organic blueberries, an idea for the piecrust and a lot of enthusiasm, I began to construct the recipe.

Lemon and blueberry pair well together, so I went with my idea and made a lemon flavor crust. The blueberry cream is super easy to make. The coconut oil in the blueberry cream acts as a binder helping solidify the cream. The key is in the temperature. Coconut oil stays solid at temperatures under 70 degrees, above that it becomes liquid. Keeping this pie chilled, even frozen, is a good idea in warmer climates.

In my case, I keep it in the freezer. For ease of removing pie pieces, I slice into the pie to make precut slices before freezing it. This way you don’t have to worry about trying to cut into a frozen pie.

Chilled Blueberry Pie with Lemon Cashew Crust

When making raw dough or crusts, I usually use a coffee grinder to grind nut and seeds to a flour-like consistency. Using a food process yields more of a grainy-like consistency. Almond or macadamia nut flour make excellent alternatives for the lemon crust. I used a rolling pin for this particular crust to get a smooth and even texture, or pressing and shaping the dough directly into the pie dish with the palms of your hands and your fingers works too. For a thicker crust, double the recipe.

Lemon Crust

2 cups cashews, ground to flour
1/3 cup agave
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt
Grind the cashews to flour in a coffee grinder. Add the cashew flour to a food processor along with the remaining ingredients and process until well incorporated. The mixture should turn into a ball like paste. Place the piecrust in a bowl and transfer to a refrigerator for an hour or two, or freeze for a half-hour. This helps the piecrust firm up and makes it less sticky and easier to handle.

Shaping the crust

Grease the pie dish with a about ½ tablespoon coconut oil; set the pie dish aside. Remove the dough from the refrigerator/freezer and place it on a cutting board or working surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough enough to make it 9-inches round in diameter. Lift the dough from the cutting board with a spatula and place it into the pie dish. Mold and shape the dough to the pie dish. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Blueberry Cream

3 cups fresh organic blueberries, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup agave
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup coconut oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Blend the blueberries, agave, lemon juice, coconut oil and sea salt together in a high-speed blender. Strain the blueberry cream through a mesh strainer into a large bowl, pressing and stirring with a rubber spatula, to remove most of the blueberry skin particles.

Yields 2 ¼ cups

Assemble the pie

Pour the blueberry cream into the prepared piecrust spreading it evenly using with a rubber spatula or spoon. Place in the refrigerator or freezer to allow the blueberry cream to firm up.

Remove from the refrigerator/freezer and garnish with fresh whole blueberries.

Makes one 9-inch pie: about 8 servings

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Tools You’ll Need For This Recipe

    • Coffee Grinder, optional
    • Food Processor
    • Microplane Zester
    • 9-Inch Glass Pie Dish
    • High-Speed Blender
    • Mesh Strainer
    • Rubber Spatula

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Try these scrumptious raw blueberry recipes:

Blueberry and Cream Cake or try Bliss-full Blueberry Cheesecake – both by Carmella of The Sunny Raw Kitchen

Shaved Raw Asparagus with Blueberries and Litchi Vinaigrette at my other site Raw Epicurean

Blueberry Raffins – by Shannon Marie posted on We Like It Raw

On Gone Raw’s, webiste, type the word “blueberries” in the search box and you’ll find 31 recipes.

Raspberries

Peak season for raspberries is during the middle of summer and I had the good fortune of being in the midst of Oregon’s berry season while vacationing there this past week. The freshest assortment of berries seemed to be everywhere and I devoured (literally) some of the regional berries, like Black Cap raspberries and Marion berries. I also tried hybrid berries, as well as the common and always delicious red raspberry.

Carved into our schedule were visits to farm stands that proudly sold baskets brimming full of the biggest, juiciest berries I have ever seen. I had the opportunity to visit and tour Bauman Farms located in Gervais, Oregon. This is the place where I had my first taste of fresh handpicked black raspberries, boysenberries, tayberries, and loganberries, they all have their own delicious distinctiveness. Thank you Soleil for the guided tour!

Varieties of Raspberries

Raspberries — Genus Rubus — are an aggregate fruit, a bramble fruit like the blackberry, composed of many tiny drupelets and come in a range of colors. They are harvested from prickly shrubs related to the rose family and native to North America.

Red Raspberry – Rubus idaeus – is the most common type of raspberry, is fragrantly sweet with a subtly tart overtone.

Black Caps or Black Raspberries – these berries are native to Oregon, taste similar to red raspberries with a slight licorice-like flavor, their color is a characteristic rich black color and between the drupelets is a white coating, called bloom.

White Raspberries – has a tender texture, a sweet delicate taste and a pleasant aroma.

Hybrids of Raspberries

Boysenberries – a cross between a raspberry, a loganberry, and a blackberry, it is a very large in comparison to other berries, has a deep maroon-purple color and are deliciously sweet.

Loganberries – a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry with a very thin dusty coating on it that is called bloom, and it has a unique sweet-tart flavor.

Tayberries – a cross between an Aurora blackberry and a red raspberry with a flavor like red raspberry

Wild Raspberries

Arctic Brambleberry – a very scarce variety that has the same shape and similar size as the wild red or black raspberry. It is red in color, has a closer resemblance to the black raspberry in taste, size and appearance, yet has a slightly sweeter and more robust flavor than other raspberries.

Purple-Flowering Raspberry – has a faded red coloring, a flat dome-shaped appearance, is not as sweet as other raspberries, and is generally found growing wild in country forests and fields.

Wild Raspberry – is sweet, similar in texture and flavor but smaller in size than black or red varieties, and it grows abundantly in country forests and fields.

Click here to view a chart of many more varieties of raspberries.

Nutritional Profile and Benefits of Raspberries

The health benefits of raspberries are outstanding. They contain significant amounts of antioxidants and flavonoids that help fight against free radicals and degenerative diseases. They are little nutritional powerhouses packed with protective compounds and contain the following vitamins and minerals:

Calcium | Copper | Dietary Fiber | Iron | Magnesium | Manganese | Omega 3 fatty acids | Potassium | Vitamin B2 [riboflavin] | Vitamin B3 [niacin] | Vitamin B6 [pyridoxine] | Vitamin B9 [Folate-Folic Acid] | Vitamin C | Vitamin E | Vitamin K

Raspberries are cholesterol and fat free and are low in calories – about 64 calories per one cup.

Selecting and Storing Raspberries

The best way to get raspberries is to pick your own, if you are lucky enough to have access to a raspberry patch. When the berries are ripe for picking, they should pull off the hull easily (note that raspberries do not ripen once they are picked).

When selecting raspberries, choose those that have a deep rich even color, are slightly soft, plump, and have a good aroma. If you are buying raspberries prepackaged in a container, be sure to check the bottom to see if it has stained or is leaking juice (this will indicate that they are too soft and overripe). Also, sort through the container and discard any berries that are too soft, mashed, damp, decayed or moldy.

Raspberries are delicate fruits vulnerable to spoilage and fungi. They rank high among the berries that are heavily treated with toxic pesticides. When purchasing raspberries, or any other berries for that matter, look for and choose organic.

They are highly perishable, for this reason it is best to purchase raspberries one or two days prior to use. They are also extremely delicate and easily crushed or damaged so handle with care. Before storing, check the raspberries once more for any that might be damaged or spoiled. Place unwashed raspberries in their original container or use a container of your choice, and store in a refrigerator. Raspberries keep well refrigerated for a few days.

Freezing raspberries is a great way to keep them long after their season ends. Gently rinse them and pat dry with a paper towel. Arrange the berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet or flat pan, completely cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 1 or 2 hours until they are completely frozen. Once they are frozen, remove plastic wrap and transfer the berries to a freezer container or bag; label and date the container and return to the freezer to store. Frozen raspberries should keep for up to a year.

Tips for Preparing Raspberries

When ready to eat or use in a recipe, remove the berries from the refrigerator and carefully rinse briefly using cold water and gently pat dry. If there are any overly soft or mushy raspberries use those in your smoothie, juice them, or make a purée, sauce or coulis.

If working with frozen raspberries, remove from the freezer and let thaw.

Here is a great tip: adding a bit of lemon juice to the thawed raspberries or just before dehydrating will help to preserve their color. This will help create an acidic environment, which berries need to keep their red color.

 

Serving Suggestions

The possible ways to use raspberries are limitless. The first thing that comes to mind is to pop fresh berries in your mouth, one by one, or be creative with some of these sweet suggestions.

  • Raspberries make a great sauce or coulis for desserts or you could use it as more of a savory sauce, depending upon how much sweetener you use.
  • Make a refreshing drink like a delicious raspberry juice or smoothie.
  • Use it as a topping for any dessert.
  • Try using fresh raspberries to make a flavorful homemade raspberry jam or spread.
  • Sprinkle these delicious berries over a salad to add color and sweet fruity flavor.
  • Make a delicious raspberry dessert such as sorbet, a parfait, or a pie.

Mulberry Jam Cookies

Yesterday, one of the father’s day gifts I presented to my father were these homemade dehydrated raw mulberry jam cookies, along with a small basket of just-off-the-tree-that-morning handpicked mulberries. He loved them both but it seemed he especially enjoyed the cookies. He ate about 5 cookies – one after the other. Everyone else present (my sisters, my husband, and friends) enjoyed them too.

I was pleased to get positive feedback, especially since none of my unsuspecting taste testers are into raw foods, though one person is vegan. Everyone was curious about what the ingredients were and how I made these cookies. Everyone was intrigued and I felt like I was giving my family and friends a brief on raw food cookie prep. We also talked about what type of drink would go well with these cookies and we all agreed one good choose would be a nice cup of tea.

The thought of cookies and tea swirled in my mind, so I decided I would enjoy the last two cookies with a cup of warm tea. I generally drink my tea straight, without added sweetener, but I deviated from the normal today. I read that in Iran they use dried mulberries as a sweetener for black tea. They drink a bit of tea and then eat some dried mulberries to sweeten the mouth. Of course I had to try this but I used fresh mulberries.

The trio of warm herbal tea, fresh mulberries and those yummy mulberry jam cookies was delicious and would be a nice treat to serve guests. These like most cookies would go well with nut or seed milks and fruity beverages too.


Mulberry Jam Cookies
1 cup raw buckwheat groats, ground to flour
1 cup raw almonds, ground to flour
½ teaspoon sea salt [I used course grey sea salt]
1/3 cup agave
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon organic vanilla extract
20 fresh mulberries
Combine the ingredients
Grind raw buckwheat groats and raw almonds to a flour in a coffee grinder. Add the ground buckwheat groats and raw almonds to a food processor. If using coarse sea salt, grind it in a coffee grinder and add to the food processor. Pulse a few times to mix the flour and salt. Add the remaining ingredients – agave, fresh lime juice and organic vanilla extract. Process until the mixture forms into a ball.

Make the filling
Place fresh mulberries in a food processor and process until well mixed.

Shape the cookies
Remove the dough from the food processor bowl and place on a clean cutting board or flat surface. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to about ½ inch thick. Using a cookie cutter or the mouth of a round jar, press into dough to form cookies. Peel away excess dough. Press down on the center of each cookie to form an indentation then fill with the mulberries jam. Use a spatula to lift the cookies from the surface and place on a dehydrator tray.

Dehydrate 4 hours or to desired texture.

Yields 20 2-inch round cookies

Have fun with the various filling possibilities; try a silky cacao filling, or any of the other berries [raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry], or one of these fruits [peach, apricot, apple, or banana] – just to suggest a few options.

Culinary Lavender

Culinary lavender is a versatile herb used in many recipes by professional chefs and people who enjoy spicing things up in the kitchen.

There are multiple ways in which the pretty purple hue of lavender adds to the look of a dish, and its flavor contributes a floral, citrus, sometime peppery, note to sweet and savory dishes.

Types of Culinary Lavender

It always surprises me to learn the number of varieties that exists from a species of plant, and lavender offers an assortment of over 200. All lavender plants look and smell wonderful but not all are meant for use in the kitchen.

Culinary lavender is suited for use in recipes and adds pleasant flavor to recipes. Non-culinary lavender varieties have more of an intense flowery perfume, medicinal, bitter or soapy taste.

Lavandula x intermedia variety commonly known as lavandin.

Rosea, also known as Jean Davis and Hidcote Pink – has a beautiful blush pink color, and milder flavor than other culinary lavenders.

Provence – a French culinary lavender with more subtle scent and flavor than English Lavender.

Lavandula angustifolias variety has sweeter scented flowers than the lavandins varieties.

English Lavender – is the most commonly used, and has the sweetest and most intense fragrance of the culinary lavenders.

Melissa – offers large pink buds and sweet flavor.

Munstead – a popular culinary lavender full of rich sweet flavor.

Note: The darker the bloom, the more intense the fragrance and flavor.

Selecting

It is best to buy fresh or dried culinary lavender from reliable and reputable sources – food markets, farmer’s markets or online sources. Always purchase lavender that is labeled for culinary use and is certified organic so you can be sure it is suitable for eating and free of chemical fertilizers or pesticide.

Cleaning Lavender

Fresh lavender flowers can be rinsed thoroughly with water to remove any soil, debris, or insects.

Drying Lavender

Drying fresh lavender is easy, simply gather the lavender flowers in a bundle, wrapping the stems with kitchen twine or an elastic band, hang the bunch in a cool, dark dry area, with plenty of ventilation, and away from sunlight until completely dry. It takes about two weeks to sufficiently dry.

To remove dried lavender buds from the flower spikes and stem, place a clean cloth on a flat surface and gently roll between your hands to loosen the buds, or you can gently rub the flower buds off the stems with your fingers.

Storing

A good way to store fresh lavender flowers and keep it from wilting is to place the stem ends in fresh water, as you would any fresh flowers, until ready to use.

Place dried lavender buds in a dark airtight glass container and store in a cool dry place. If dried and stored properly, it should last for a year or more.

Using Culinary Lavender

A little goes a long way ~ Keep in mind that too much lavender can overpower a recipe. Use it sparingly. Start out using small amounts and experiment a bit until you find what amount works best for your taste and in a particular recipe. Meantime, consider it as a complimentary background flavor, similar to the use of vanilla.

Dried lavender is more potent than fresh ~ A good measurement guide is to use 1/3 the quantity of dried flowers to fresh. Example: if a recipe calls for 3 teaspoons fresh lavender, substitute 1 teaspoon of dried.

Release the fragrance ~ Use an herb mill or mortar and pestle to break up dry lavender to release its flavor and aroma before using in as an ingredient in a recipe.

Save the stems ~ Keep the lavender stems after removing the dried flower buds and use as a fragrant kabob stick, just slide fresh fruit on the stems. Another idea, place the stems in a small jar or basket to perfume a room.

A Word Of Caution

All flowers are not edible and some are extremely toxic. Please take care to purchase edible flowers from reputable sources. Make certain the flowers are labeled organic and have not been treated with pesticides or preservative. In many cases flowers from florists, nurseries, or garden centers have been treated with pesticides and are not meant for consumption.

Online Sources for Organic Culinary Lavender

Hood River Lavender

Organic Culinary Lavender

Olympic Lavender Farm

More Information About Lavender

Purple Haze Lavender Blog

Wikipedia – Lavender

Cashew Coconut Pudding with Orange Segments

This recipe is inspired by and adapted from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen, page 73

Today while thumbing through Ani Phyo’s wonderful contribution to the raw food world Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen, I found the perfect recipe [being that I had all the ingredients] called “Cashew Coconut Pudding”.

So here it is! The original recipe itself is great as a stand-alone pudding, however, I tweaked it a bit, adapting it with a citrus note and a splash of organic vanilla. Yum!

One thing, as always, leads to another, after making the pudding I thought a parfait would be an attractive way to present this pudding, alternating layers of this silky smooth pudding with fresh orange segments. Delicious!

PREP: 5 Minutes TOTAL: 5 Minutes
SERVES 4

I adapted this recipe adding organic, non-alcohol vanilla, and substituted fresh orange juice in place of water. I also used dried coconut and didn’t soak the cashews. You can play around with a few variables here. For example, had I had fresh coconut on hand I would have used fresh coconut milk or even coconut water in place of the water. For even more pronounced coconut flavor, you might try adding a small splash of coconut extract.

2 cups cashews
1 ½ cups fresh orange juice
½ cup shredded dried coconut or fresh coconut
¼ cup pitted dates
2 teaspoons organic vanilla

Blend the cashews and water until smooth. Add the dates and coconut. Blend until smooth.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Will keep for three to four days in the fridge.

TOOLS: High-speed Blender

Red Rooibos | Green Rooibos | Red Espresso

All three herbal teas are created from a leguminous flowering shrub, Aspalathus linearis, grown exclusively in a small mountainous area, the Cederberg region, of the Western Cape province of South Africa.

These beverages have become increasingly popular and research conducted in South Africa and Japan have confirmed numerous health benefits from these herbal teas. They are noted to have no additives, artificial coloring, caffeine, oxalic acid, preservatives, are low in tannins, rich in anti-oxidants, and contain many compounds and properties that promote healing and health.

PROCESSING METHODS | TASTE

The farming of Rooibos has always been very close to nature and remains so today.

RED ROOIBOS ~ the green leaves and stems of the shrub, Aspalathus linearis, are picked, placed on dry-beds, bruised and exposed to oxygen to ferment. The fermentation process oxidizes the leaves and during this fermentation process a lot of valuable nutrients are lost lessens the tea’s nutritional benefits, however it still provides a large number of nutrients. The process also contributes to its rich amber color, smooth taste and natural sweetness that can be enjoyed without sugar.

GREEN ROOIBOS ~ Made unfermented by stopping the natural fermentation and oxidization process of the tea just after the leaves and stems are picked. It is withered immediately, steamed to prevent oxidation, and then rolled and dried. This method keeps antioxidants as intact as possible, offering a higher level of antioxidant power. Green rooibos has a mild taste with a delicate grassy aroma reminiscent of green tea, like Japanese Sencha but without the astringency.

RED ESPRESSO ~ is specially refined red rooibos tea for use in an espresso machine. It is suitable as an espresso style beverage having a stronger taste and richer color.

GROWING IT

It would be wonderful to grow this amazing plant right in our own backyard, however, numerous attempts were made to grow African Rooibos outside its natural habitat – so far – none were successful.Learn more botanical information about Aspalathus linearis “rooibos” – visit Plantzafrica.

HONEYBUSH

Honeybush tea is made from the leaves, stems and flowers of the Cyclopia species, a yellow flowering shrub native to South Africa. It is similar in appearance and taste to Rooibos.

PROCESSING METHOD | TASTEFlowers are harvested during the flowers season when they emit the distinct “honey” scent. There are two distinct methods used for fermentation, in a curing heap or at elevated temperatures in a preheated “baking-oven”.

Honeybush is naturally caffeine free, has a sweet mild honey flavor and has that attractive red hue. It has health benefit similar to Rooibos and has been used to fight lung and respiratory disorders. This sweet honey like infusion can be enjoyed hot, cold, day or night.

Learn more botanical information about Cyclopia genistoides “Honeybush” – visit Plantzafrica.

Deviled Mango Dressing

This recipe is adapted from Kristen’s Raw recipe Cosmic Carrots with Deviled Mango.

A few days ago I blog hopped over to Kristen’s Raw to catch up on what was new. That day she wrote a great post which she details in 4 simple tips How To Make Raw Food EASY!. One of the recipes she exampled in tip #1 – Keep It Simple, called Deviled Mango caught my eye. After reading through the ingredients, I knew this was an ideal recipe for this post. First and foremost, it features fresh mango, is light, savory, healthy, and so easy to make. Perfect!

My intention was to duplicate her recipe exactly, however, I didn’t have two of the ingredients on hand, so I substituted the following: cayenne pepper stood-in place of red Limo pepper, 2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime juice replaced 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the vegan organic white wine, and I choose to use fresh garlic instead of powdered garlic.

I served this dressing over chopped spinach mixed with fresh basil, shredded carrots, and chopped tomatoes, it was so delicious and well received by my family. All of us (whether raw or not) thoroughly enjoyed this dressing. Thanks Kristen!

Deviled Mango Dressing

This creamy style dressing is deliciously sweet with a kick of spiciness.

1 mango, peeled, pitted, and chopped
2 dates, pitted
1-2 small garlic cloves
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoon lime juice, fresh squeezed
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Keeps refrigerated up to 3 days.

Serving suggestions: Serve with your choice of fruit or vegetable salad or as a savory dip.

Yield 1¼ cups

Kristen is owner of Kristensraw.com and author of several raw food and lifestyle ebooks.

Fresh Mulberries

The first day of summer is days away and we are well into summer berry season. The basket of mulberries pictured above was hand picked by Peter (my husband) from the mulberry tree in our backyard and we are grateful for it.

Flashback to December when we first laid eyes on the tall leafless tree, we had no idea it was a fruit-bearing tree until a few months later one spring day. On that day, Peter called for me to come outside to look at the tree. He noticed fruit growing from it. We called my mother out to join in on the investigation. She said it is a mulberry tree that bore white mulberries two years ago, and that last year it did not bring any fruit. We were surprised and delighted!

Reading about this fruit, I learned that mulberries ripen over an extended period of time unlike many other fruits that seem to come all at once. Also, botanically the fruit is not a berry but a collective fruit that resembles a blackberry.

Since our happy discovery mulberries abound. This tree is quite prolific. I have to confess, I was slightly disappointed that the mulberries were not white. They started out white to a pale yellow-green, then changed to a reddish color, then to shades of purple-lavender to dark purplish-black. My guess is that they are black mulberries, then again, they might just be white mulberries based on what I read about each variety.

The Varieties

Over a hundred varieties and many hundreds more sub-varieties exist, way too many to list here, and mulberry trees can be found in almost any altitudes and climates in the world.

Black mulberries are large, juicy, and sweet.
It is considered the best-flavored species of mulberry.

Asparagus Cooler

This is a fresh and unique way to showcase succulent asparagus. It is a simple yet unlikely mixture of asparagus, green grapes and a little fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice in a glass. The grapes are what give this drink its sweetness.

Not only is it a delicious refreshing drink, it is an alkalizing drink – asparagus is a high alkaline vegetable, lemon and grapes are alkaline-forming fruits – and is loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Surprise and delight your family and friends with this fresh cooling asparagus drink. It will certainly satisfy and quench a thirst.

Asparagus Cooler

3 asparagus stalks, washed
1 cup seedless green grapes, washed
2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1 cup filtered water
Crushed ice to fill glass

Juice the asparagus stalks and seedless green grapes in a juicer. Squeeze the lime or lemon and add the juice to the asparagus and grape juice. Add the filtered water and mix well.

Pour the juice into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime or lemon wedge. Serve immediately.

Serves 1 – 2