close up of bunch of fresh raspberries.

Summer Berries

If you’re like me, you’ve been dreaming of summer berries and cherry recipes all winter. Maybe you eat blueberries by the handful, or you put raspberries on your fingers and eat them one by one.

Whether you get flats of summer berries from the market or pick blackberries growing by the side of the road, here are a bunch of recipes to make those summer berries and cherries shine.

Berry and cherry tools

Summer berries and cherries are really easy to cook and bake, although there are a few kitchen tools that can be helpful:

  • Cherry pitter. You can get one that is handheld or one that can handle multiple cherries at a time.
  • Fine mesh strainer, sometimes called a chinois, for straining out berry seeds, particularly with blackberries and raspberries.

Berry and cherry FAQs

How should berries be washed?

You’ll want to wash your berries and cherries well to remove any dirt or pesticides, especially if you’ve bought non-organic fruit. Rinse your fruit thoroughly in running water, gently rubbing the surface with your fingers. There’s no need for a soap or other cleaner. Let the fruit drain or use a paper towel to pat your berries or cherries dry.

How should berries be stored?

Berries and cherries should be stored in the refrigerator, but don’t wash them until you’re ready to eat or bake them. Washing can bruise the surface and speed up how quickly they go bad.

Can I freeze fresh berries?

Yes! If you’ve gone berry picking and have too many to eat, you can freeze fresh berries and cherries for later. Simply rinse them under cold water and dry gently with a paper towel. Hull strawberries and pit cherries before freezing. Then place them in a single layer on a baking sheet overnight in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag and store for three to six months.

Can I use frozen berries instead of fresh?

Yes, but know that frozen berries will release more water than fresh, so cakes and muffins may end up pink or purple!

Is it important to buy organic berries?

Strawberries top the list of the Dirty Dozen, the produce most contaminated with pesticides, but cherries and blueberries also make the list. If you have access and can afford organic berries and cherries, this is one time to splurge.

Summer berries and cherry recipes

The simplest way to enjoy your summer berries is raw. Eat them by the handful, serve them with yogurt and granola, or blend them into smoothies. Or use them to top a summer rainbow salad or rainbow fruit tart.

When cooking and baking, the summer berries and cherries are pretty much interchangeable. You might need to adjust the amount of sugar you use, depending on the sweetness of the fruit.

Below are some of my favorite summer berry and cherry recipes. But you should try these four first:

Summer berry and cherry pies, tarts, and fruit crisps

Ah, there’s nothing better than a summer pie. Or make a fruit crisp – they’re like pie but without the bottom crust. Serve either one with vanilla ice cream, and you have dessert fit for company. You can switch out fruits or use combinations of summer berries in these pies and related recipes.

Summer berry cakes and muffins

When using berries in cakes and muffins, you can leave your berries whole or make a fruit puree. This is where that fine mesh strainer will come in handy!

Berry and cherry jams and fruit syrups

Turn fruit into jams to make sweet fillings for breakfast pastries or swirls of fruit syrups for ice cream or brownies. Or go savory with fruit-based vinaigrettes and ketchup.

Summer berry snacks

Pop a handful of berries into your mouth for a snack, or make one of these simple strawberry treats. With no added sugar, they’re great for kid and adult alike.

Summer berry and cherry cocktails

Infuse berries into your favorite liquor or add them to your simple syrup as it cools. Not surprisingly, fresh summer berries and cherries are the perfect garnish for these cocktails.

Are you an adventurous home cook looking for inspiration in your weeknight meals and weekend baking? Get inspiration here:

Are you an adventurous home cook looking for inspiration in your weeknight meals and weekend baking? Get inspiration here: