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 September 26, 2003
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Celebrate National Berry Month!
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Since July is National Berry Month, we should take this opportunity to enjoy the nutritional value and taste of fresh berries.  From strawberry shortcake to blueberry pie, berries complement our favorite summer dishes.  Also, there are many different varieties of berries, besides the usual staples of strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, blueberries and blackberries.  All berries are incredibly nutritious, and each have different vitamins and health benefits. 

The Native Americans enriched their lifestyle with many different types of berries.  They relied on various berries for nourishment and taste. Since most berries can be consumed raw, they are quick and simple to eat and involve almost no preparation. Today we eat berries for the same reasons as the Native Americans did and they provide the same advantages as they did hundreds of years ago. 

Most all berries have vitamin C, fiber, folic acid and phytochemicals.  Vitamin C helps the body produce antibodies against invading bacteria and virus'.  Fiber can help protect your body from colon cancer and lower your risk of heart disease.  Phytochemicals help to prevent cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.  Simply eating berries can truly strengthen your health.  Plus, berries are a great alternative to sweets.  They have a natural sweetness that may satisfy your dessert craving, and they have little or no fat. 

You may want to try a few different kinds of berries, to reap the benefits of different vitamins and to explore different kinds of tastes and textures. Here is a list of some unique berries to try:

Yellow Raspberries
: Very similar to red raspberries, but are not usually used in cooking.  They are beautiful and color and have an excellent flavor when picked fresh. 

Lingonberries:  Mostly produced in Oregon and Washington, Lingonberries are closely related to cranberries and enjoyed around the world.  They are great in cooking, and are good fresh as well, but may be a bit tart. 

Boysenberries, loganberries and ollaliberries:  These berries are blackberry hybrids that are quite tart so usually used in cooking, but provide excellent, robust flavor in pies and tarts. 

Currants:  Currants are usually not consumed fresh, but are excellent in making jam.  Black, white and red varieties are equally tasty!

Now that you are schooled in the health benefits and berry varietals, you should start cooking!  Included below are some tasty berry recipes that are fun for the summer:

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