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Fruit infused water

Now that your grapes and berries are ripe and ready to pick, what can you do with them? Sure, a handful of sweet, juicy berries makes a great summer treat, but it can get old after a while. Try these ideas to include your homegrown crops into meals, snacks, and drinks.

Infuse your water. We all need to drink eight glasses of water each day, but that can get boring sometimes. Infuse your water with grape or berry flavors for a fun twist on a hot day. Use sparkling water if you prefer a bubbly beverage.

Add berries to lemonade. Ever try raspberry or blackberry lemonade? You might discover a new favorite treat!

Toss berries into a salad. Strawberries, spinach, and goat cheese crumbles make a delicious combo. Experiment with your own combinations to see what you can come up with.

Bake homemade blueberry muffins. Most people don’t realize that many packaged muffin mixes only include “imitation” berries. Bake up a batch of homemade muffins and you’ll be amazed at the difference.

Make your own preserves and jellies. With homemade preserves and jellies, you can avoid preservatives and control the amount of sugar you consume. Plus, canning is a fun family project.

Pair with cheese. Experiment with unique flavor combinations to create exciting cheese boards. You can use your preserves and jellies, or just the fruit itself. Hint: Keep your crackers or bread plain, so the flavors won’t compete with your fruit and cheese.

Make popsicles. Mix the berries of your choice with plain yogurt, pour into popsicle molds, and freeze until solid. The kids will love these healthy summer treats.

Blackberry balsamic pork loin. Rub a pork loin with salt, pepper, rosemary, and a touch of sage. Place it in a crock pot, set to low heat, and add a jar of your blackberry jelly along with ¼ cup of honey and a few tablespoons of red wine such as Cabernet. Cook for four hours or until done, and top with more blackberries if you wish.

Blackberry basil margarita. Muddle ¼ cup blackberries with two ounces of tequila and a few fresh basil leaves. Add a squirt of fresh lime juice and two teaspoons of sugar, pour over ice, and garnish with blackberries and a sprig of basil if desired.

Experiment with your own berry flavored combinations to create more unique cocktails.

For information on including berry bushes or grape vines into your landscaping, give us a call. We can show you how to create an edible landscape that is also visually appealing.