I love love summer fruit! I despise apples and eat them through fall and winter because they are in-season and cheap. But if they taste too much like apple juice (which I have always disliked), I can't eat them. Oranges are yummy but not as convenient as apples or pears (love pears, btw). So when summer rolls around and we are bombarded with tons of fruit varieties as opposed to the 3-4 options in the bleaker months, I get super excited.
I'm big on buying fruits that are in-season. I can't bring myself to pay more than 1.99/lb for something unless I am really tempted to try something new, or need it for a recipe. We have fabulous fruit in the US so why pay more to have something flown in from S. America that isn't really in-season there either? Anyway, I digress...
I saw that Safeway had cherries for 1.97/lb!!! A steal!! Especially when I almost bought them last week at 3.99/lb (also on sale, reg. 6.99/lb). I LOVE cherries, love almost anything cherry flavored and get so happy when cherry season comes around. I even have a tattoo of cherries, that's how much I love them.
I ran over to the store yesterday, so excited, and decided that I would also get other berries to take home. I bought a double size pack of raspberries (5.99 or something, the small single packs were moldy looking), 2 small packs of blackberries (ONE DOLLAR EACH!!), and a big bag of cherries.
I froze half of the berries immediately and saved the rest for this week's snacks. The cherries I also left alone in the fridge. Freezing berries is a little involved but pretty easy. Just rinse berries and lay to dry, once dry enough, transfer to a cookie sheet and put in the freezer. Once they are frozen you can then transfer the berries to a ziploc freezer bag and store in freezer. The reason you place them on a cookie sheet to freeze is so that they don't get stuck together. You have to carefully place them on the sheet so that they don't touch one another. You also need to make sure you a careful during all the handling as they are pretty delicate. I found that a mesh strainer works better than a colander for rinsing as the colander holes are too big and rough and mangle the berries more, esp. if they are pretty ripe. You do not need to sprinkle any sugar or stuff onto the berries before freezing.
For dessert last night I made a ghetto version of a fruit tart I had over the weekend. I placed a 1/4c of French Vanilla pudding made with low-fat milk in a bowl and topped with the berries and slid in 3 small vanilla wafers into the bowl (to act as the crust). Next time I'm going to try a different pudding flavor, like a custard because I couldn't taste this one at all. I stole the pack from my parent's pantry (with permission) other wise I would've purchased some sugar or fat-free version. Overall the dessert was ok. 'Nilla wafers were definitely unnecessary and tonight I'm just going to top a small bit of pudding with the berries. Myb/f liked it though and he usually has very high standards for foods....so I guess I did ok with my invention.
Can't wait to play around more with this summer's offerings. I think I'll attempt to bake something with fruit this year.
PS - I looked on the Jello website and they have low-fat sugar-free White chocolate and cheesecake flavors...mmmm add berries to that? Could be divine!