An abundance of fresh berries is certainly one of the best things about summertime in the Midwest. Many hot afternoons during summers I spent in Michigan were devoted to collecting sweet, ripe berries for eating and using fresh and for preserving to enjoy during the long, cold winter months.
This recipe round up features fifty-two delicious ways to enjoy a variety of summer berries this year. Below you’ll find some classic recipes you know and love mixed in with some fresh, fun recipes that just might become your new summer favorite. Enjoy!
Summer is in full swing in Michigan, which means fresh berries and herbs are available in abundance. I love to make various preserves throughout the season so that I have a few jars to give as gifts to friends & family and some wonderful treats to enjoy myself during the long winter months when nothing is growing.
This delicious, unique simple syrup combines some of my favorite flavors of these lovely summer months. Blueberries are a familiar favorite and the addition of black currants and wild bergamot gives this syrup a tasty twist.
Black currants are not extremely popular, at least in this area, and can be a bit tricky to find. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get them at a farmer’s market or find a fruit farm that will let you pick them yourself. We are fortunate enough to have a great orchard nearby where we can pick these tasty berries. If possible, growing your own is a great option. If you can’t find black currants and still want to make this recipe, just substitute an equal amount of blueberries. The currants add a lovely flavor, but blueberry-bergamot syrup is also wonderful.
When eaten fresh, black currants have a sweet, earthy flavor that some people don’t enjoy. I personally think they’re wonderful, but they are definitely different. Most people do like black currants when they are added to syrups, jellies, and wines as they have a delicious flavor that is similar blackberries, though it is a bit richer and more concentrated.
Wild Bergamot is a lovely plant that can be found flowering in the fields, meadows, and roadsides in our area right now. I love its strong, spicy, oregano-like flavor. It’s definitely not what you would expect from such a delicate and pretty flower! It is wonderful as a cooking spice, garnish for salads, and to flavor syrups and jellies. The below graphic – excerpted from Dina Falconi’s book, Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook – provides lots of wonderful information about how to wildcraft and use wild bergamot. This is one of my favorite books on foraging wild edibles as it has very thorough plant profiles, amazing recipes, and is beautifully illustrated. Click here to get a copy of your own. Continue reading →
Summer is the perfect time to go camping or have a cook out in the yard with your friends and family. Cooking outdoors gives you a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather and to add some delicious deep, smoky flavors to your food that are difficult to reproduce with your oven or stove top.
And what is a cook out without condiments? This homemade barbecue sauce is a delicious alternative to conventional BBQ sauces that contain processed, artificial ingredients. It is smoky, sweet, and a bit spicy – everything a good BBQ sauce should be.
1 small yellow onion, diced finely
2-4 cloves of garlic, diced finely (this will depend on the size of your garlic cloves and how garlicky you enjoy your food. I tend to enjoy lots of garlic, so I use 4 cloves.)
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
6 oz of tomato paste
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup of honey
1 1/2 Tablespoons of liquid aminos or soy sauce
2 teaspoons of chipotle powder (reduce or omit this if you don’t like a spicy BBQ sauce – this amount will result in a medium-spicy level of heat.)
2 Tablespoons of maple syrup (omit this step if you don’t want your sauce quite as sweet. Tip: The sweetness of the maple syrup can counter the spiciness of the chipotle if you went a little overboard with it.)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
salt, to taste
*This recipe makes about 1 pint of sauce.
Heat a sauce pan on medium low. Add oil and let it warm up. Then add the onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Stir frequently until the onions are translucent and soft. Add the other ingredients and stir well to combine. Taste the sauce and make sure it is to your liking. Add more maple syrup to increase sweetness, more chipotle powder to increase smokey spiciness, or more salt if needed. Reduce sauce to low and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
When sauce is finished smear it on tempeh, tofu, or your favorite meat option before or after grilling. Unused sauce can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks.