Who can resist raspberries, blackberries and strawberries with their rich colours and refreshing taste? Some have been available in the shops for the last few weeks, but berries grown in this country aren’t in season until the summer. They’re among the favourite summer fruits in Switzerland, and many people put them in their muesli and fruit flans, use them to make jam, or enjoy them with vanilla ice cream.
Bursting with vitamins
Strawberries are the most popular berries in Switzerland. They’re rich in vitamin C (around 60 milligrams per 100 grams) and are good for your figure because they’re almost 90 per cent water and therefore low in calories. Raspberries are also low in calories, and while they don’t have quite as much Vitamin C as strawberries they contain plenty of pectin, a dietary fibre that’s good for your digestion. But the berries that pack the biggest vitamin C punch are blackcurrants, with around 180 milligrams per 100 grams.
The darker the berry, the healthier it is. Blackberries, blackcurrants and blueberries are so dark because they contain large amounts of plant pigments called anthocyanins. These have a positive influence on blood pressure as well as possessing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Blueberries are also said to have anticarcinogenic properties: according to a study by the University of Alabama, a cup of blueberries a day lowers the risk of cancer.
Best enjoyed immediately
Unlike other fruits, berries only keep for a short time and should be eaten or processed quickly. Soft berries such as raspberries and strawberries are particularly sensitive and can start to spoil within a matter of hours. They keep for up to two days in the fridge. Firmer berries such as blueberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants will stay fresh in the fridge for up to a week. Berries are often sprayed with fungicides before transport to extend their shelf life. This means that before eating them you should wash them thoroughly under running water.