Berries and Summer: They Just Go Together
Ah…. summertime. I love it! And this summer has been an unusually gorgeous one, exactly my idea of a perfect summer: an endless string of warm, blue sky days accentuated by a few hot days and the occasional dramatic thunderstorm here and there (bringing us much needed moisture and some spectacular lightning shows). We don’t have much in the way of humidity here in Calgary, so the dry heat is very pleasant.
For me, a perfect treat on these wonderfully languid, hot August days is my summer berry fruit salad made of freshly picked seasonal berries. For weeks now, countless flats of raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries and blueberries have been flying out of the farmers markets and finding their way into kitchens all over Calgary.
Summer Berry Fruit Salad
Every summer, when the cherries, blueberries and blackberries are in season and at their peak, in late July and early August, I look forward to making this berry salad. The gorgeous berries look like summer jewels to me. And they taste as wonderful as they look. My partner and I especially like to enjoy this fruit salad for breakfast on warm, sunny mornings sitting outside at our little bistro table in our balcony garden. It’s a great way to start the day.
Made of fresh cherries, blueberries, blackberries and fresh watermelon, with a simple dressing of fresh mint, lemon juice and honey, this salad says “summertime”. The juice from the cherries and the watermelon meld with the lemon, the mint and the honey, creating an intoxicating and surprisingly exotic flavour combination, a perfect complement to the fresh summer berries. It’s a real crowd-pleaser.
Summer Berry Fruit Salad Recipe:
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 cup fresh blackberries
- 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
- 1 cup pink watermelon balls
- a handful of fresh chopped mint
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- honey to taste
Wash all the berries and drain well. De-stem and remove the pits from the cherries using a cherry pitter (or use a chopstick if you don’t have a cherry pitter). Scoop rounds of pink watermelon using that melon baller you have in the back of your utensil drawer and rarely use (that’s the fun part). If you don’t have a melon baller, you can just cut up some cubes. Remove any watermelon seeds.
In a small bowl, mix lemon juice and honey. Adjust to taste, adding more honey if you like it sweeter or more lemon juice to brighten it up. Put all ingredients except the fresh mint together in a bowl and mix gently so as not to bruise the fruit. Add fresh mint just before serving.
Serve as is, or spoon over thick, creamy Greek yogurt.
Use cherry syrup in the dressing and as a marinade. I often have some homemade cherry syrup on hand from making candied cherries (see my previous post on Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream) so sometimes I like to add a tablespoon of cherry syrup to the salad dressing instead of honey. I also like to marinate the watermelon balls in some of the homemade cherry syrup—the syrup absorbs beautifully into the melon balls, turning them a deep pink colour and creating an incredible taste explosion.
Swap out fresh peach slices for the watermelon. Remove skins from fresh peaches by submersing the peaches in simmering hot water for about 40-50 seconds, then immediately cool them in ice water. Cut in half, remove the pit, peel and slice into thin wedges. Add to salad in place of watermelon balls.
Slowly and appreciatively savour each spoonful outdoors on a warm summer day. It’s guaranteed to send you over the moon!
All photographs by madlyinlovewithlife; © 2012 madlyinlovewithlife