Take this last chance to enjoy fresh berries before the rest of summer slips away. Though delicious on their own, berries can become downright spectacular with just a little extra TLC. One such technique—gingered berries—is always on my to-make list each summer. You don’t need a formal recipe; it’s a cinch to toss together. Here’s how.
Gingered berries are a simple snack idea I love throwing together for a midday nosh or elegant dessert. There’s really nothing to it, but somehow the combination of spicy minced ginger, invigorating mint leaves, and super-ripe berries is magical.
Start with your berries, any berries you like best. Personally, I’m a huge fan of gingering blueberries—but raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are just fine. Use whatever you prefer and looks freshest and plumpest at the market.
The next ingredient I like to toss into the mix is sugar. You can use a natural liquid sweetener like honey or agave with perfectly fine results, but for this particular dish I like to use raw or turnibado sugar. The coarseness of the sugar crystals sticks well to each individual berry, giving an ever-so-slight crunchy, sweet coating around the fruits.
Sweeten to your personal taste and depending on how sweet your berries are. Blackberries tend to be quite tart and may need a bit more sugar, while blueberries or ripe strawberries can do with less. Start with a spoonful sprinkled over the top, and build up from there if you need more sweetness.
Fresh mint really enlivens any fruit dish, especially summer dishes. If you have smaller mint leaves, you may decide to leave them whole when you toss them in to the mix. Otherwise, larger mint leaves may be sliced thinly or chopped—do what appeals to your personal aesthetics.
We couldn’t talk about gingered berries without the ginger! Fresh ginger root is what you want here. You just don’t want to go overboard and use too much, since the raw stuff can be quite potent and spicy. Start with an inch or so of ginger root. Peel it and mince it finely. For a few cups of berries, you may want anywhere from 1 teaspoon (very mild) to 1 tablespoon total of minced ginger.
That’s really all there is to it. Toss the ingredients together in a small bowl and adjust the flavors to taste. I often add a few squeezes of fresh lime juice in there for a bit of extra perkiness. The dish is ready to go as is, but it really benefits from hanging out in the fridge for a couple of hours. This lets the boldness of the ginger meld into the berries and mellow a bit, and the chilling of the berries makes for a truly refreshing treat in the end.
Have fun playing around with this summer dish while we still have fresh berries abound!
Image adapted from brx0, Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0