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Berries are one of my favorite early summer fruits. That is fortunate, since berries are nutritious as well as delicious. However, I recommend organic berries whenever possible, since the skins are thin and allow pesticides to penetrate.

Berries contain anthocyanins, natural chemicals in plants that are very beneficial for the body. They also contain antioxidants, organic substances that help fight disease. (See Glossary for more information on these two terms.) In addition, these delicious fruits-raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries-are quite low in (natural) sugars and a good source of Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Not too shabby for such tiny tidbits of fruit!

Speaking of tidbits, an interesting one from the Internet tells us that Native Americans were the first to incorporate berries into their diets, so we have a strong history with berries. My own history with berries starts every summer, since the warmer months are the peak harvest for these fruits. I love fruit all year long, but at this time of year I especially love berries. They are great in (fruit) salads, smoothies, desserts, and just washed and enjoyed as finger food.

I hope the recipes below with whet your appetite for these colorful and bountiful berries. (If you have freezer space, you can freeze some fresh berries for later in the year.)

Berry Buffet




This is a fruit version of a salad bar with tart shells to be filled with berries and roll ups made with berry jam. Recipes for all follow. (Thanks to my husband, who gave me the title.) Feel free to add or subtract other fruits, such as kiwi, grapes, etc.

Utensils: Bowls, knives, serving dishes
Preparation Time: 20 minutes (If not making Cashew Creme*)
Cooking Time: None

On small container organic strawberries, washed and sliced
One small container organic raspberries, washed and drained
One small container organic blueberries, washed and drained
One small container organic blackberries, washed and drained
Other fruit of your choice: Kiwi, Pineapple, etc. washed and peeled and sliced
Slivered almonds
(Toasted) unsweetened, dried coconut
Toppings: Yogurt, Sour Cream, Whipped Cream or Cashew Creme*

1. Place all washed and cut (if needed) fruit in separate bowls in a circle or line.
2. Fill small bowls with toppings. (any or all)
3. Place larger bowls nearby so guests can pick and choose to make their own berry sundae. Enjoy!

* Cashew Creme: Soak one cup of untoasted cashews in 2 cups hot water for ½ hour. Drain. Puree the drained cashews with ½ cup of the soaking water in the blender or processor, adding ½ tsp. vanilla extract and a dab of honey, maple syrup or agave to taste, if you wish. Place in a small serving bowl and use as a topping. (Variation: Add one Tbl. orange juice for citrus cashew creme.)

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