Beyond Shortcake: Ways to Use Summer Berries

July 31, 2017 | Food Lion
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Tagged:  Recipes

Blue, black or red, berries are wonderful fruits that are at their peak for only a short time out of the year.

All too often, though, people only resort to using them in shortcake. Don't get us wrong—shortcakes are great. But it's time to talk about other uses for summer berries that your entire family will love! These recipes are for whole food-based (unprocessed or unrefined), summer berry dishes and desserts that go way beyond the berry-laden dishes you're accustomed to.

Raspberry Vinaigrette

Let's do this two ways, because you should be able to reap the benefits of a fresh, fruity dressing even if you don't have much time to spare in the kitchen. Either way you make it, it's unusual and full of bright, lively raspberry flavor!

1. The Cheater's Way


  • 1 cup bottled vinaigrette of your choice
  • 1/2 cup raspberries

Method: Smash raspberries through a sieve into a mixing bowl, discarding seeds. Whisk dressing in until well combined.

2. From Scratch:


  • 1/2 cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/4 cup white or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 pinch each salt and pepper


  1. Smash raspberries through a sieve into a mixing bowl, discarding seeds.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients except oil, and whisk to combine.
  3. Add oil gradually in a stream and whisk until emulsified.

Blackberry Clafouti

Wait, cla-what?! It's not a hugely popular dessert, but it should be. Clafouti is sort of like a cake, sort of like a pancake, chock full of fruit and incredibly yummy. On top of that, it's really easy to make! Clafouti is a French dessert that's made of a sweet batter, similar to pancake batter, which you pour over fruit and bake. We'd say it's easy as pie, but it's way quicker than dealing with rolling out pie dough!


  • 2 cups blackberries (if preferred, substitute any other berry)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour (substitute brown rice flour for a gluten free version)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract
  • 1 pinch of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Briefly blend all ingredients except berries in a blender, until just uniform in texture.
  3. Pour batter into an 8-inch square baking dish or deep pie plate and bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from oven and scatter berries all over the top.
  5. Return to oven and bake an additional 45 minutes, until golden brown and puffy; clafouti will deflate a bit as it cools.

Blueberry Rib Glaze

Summer barbecue can only be improved with this rich, tangy glaze that uses blueberries as its star ingredient. It makes for a wonderfully sticky final product, and is ideal for those who don't love smoky flavors. You could choose a different berry; just note that since blueberries are on the sweeter side you might need a touch more sweetener if choosing blackberries or raspberries.


  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder


  1. Add all ingredients to a sauce pot and place over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring regularly.
  3. Simmer for 10 minutes, then let cool.
  4. Use as is, or blend/strain for a smoother product. Pour directly over ribs before, during and/or after cooking in your preferred preparation.

Strawberry Soup

Call it dessert, a snack or even breakfast; this simple soup is quick to make and is basically a smoothie you can eat with a spoon! It's a fun way to provide your kids with the probiotic benefits of yogurt, in a lovely shade of pink. If you prefer plain yogurt, we recommend adding sweetener as it could be a it tart.


  • 2 cups strawberries, hulls removed
  • 1 cup vanilla or strawberry yogurt
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method: Blend all ingredients until smooth, then chill before serving.

Berry Basil Refresher

Is it a lemonade? A tea? An Arnold Palmer? Call it what you will, it's a refreshing and tasty drink that pairs as well with a nice brunch as it does an afternoon barbecue. Steeping the basil in hot water gives it a similar feel to a tea, while adding an herbaceous flavor. Choose just one berry, or go for a whole crew!


  • 1 cup mixed berries, sliced if large
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 6 cups water, divided


  1. In a sauce pan, bring two cups of water to a boil along with the sugar.
  2. Add basil leaves and berries, stir briefly, then turn heat off.
  3. Let sit for five minutes, then add lemon juice.
  4. Add remaining four cups water, and strain if desired.