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Strawberries
Thawed, plump whole strawberries, large and luscious, filled in when there were none in the markets. All photography by Corey Lugg | THE NIBBLE.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.

 

 

February 2009

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Fruits

Vital Choice Frozen Gourmet Berries

Blackberries, Blueberries, Strawberries & Raspberries Kosher & Organic

 

CAPSULE REPORT: In the dead of winter, you may long for summer berries—or you may need them to keep on the straight and narrow of your diet. We tried supermarket brands of frozen berries, but the clear winner is Vital Choice, certified organic and certified kosher by KOAOA. This is Page 1 of a two-page article. Click on the black links below to visit Page 2.

Overview

In the winter months, when the price of fresh berries doubles and the fruit is often not worth the price, some of us tend to forgo our low-calorie, high-nutrition berry portions in favor of emptier calories. Some people have tried frozen berries, but find them unappealing—mushy or rubbery, a poor substitute.

Vital Choice, a purveyor of fine food, has a truly superior frozen berry—pricier, but worth it. Quick frozen with no sugar added, they are the best substitute we’ve found for fresh fruit.

Frozen Berry Varieties

You can dig into a selection of:

  • Organic Blackberries. These were added to the line after we finished our tasting. They’re grown by a small farmer in Oregon.
    HEALTH BENEFITS: Blackberries have an abundance of antioxidants, fiber, folic acid (a B vitamin), manganese and vitamins C and K.
  • Organic Blueberries. These are wild blueberries, which grow smaller and sweeter than cultivated berries, with higher levels of antioxidants. Other big-name brands we tried were hard and rubbery compared to these.
    HEALTH BENEFITS: Blueberries have the highest antioxidant punch and lowest calorie ratio of any traditional fruit or vegetable, and also rival cranberries for their ability to prevent urinary tract infections.
Frozen Blueberries
  • Organic Red Raspberries. While the berries were tart and required sweetening, they did have intense raspberry flavor and fragrance.
    HEALTH BENEFITS: Red raspberries are rich in health-enhancing antioxidants such as anthocyanins, coumaric acid, ellagitannins and ferulic acid. They also provide calcium, fiber folic acid and vitamins A, C and E. Some of the fiber in raspberries is soluble fiber in the form of pectin, which lowers cholesterol.
  • Organic Strawberries. These were closest to fresh fruit of any of the frozen berries. We were impressed with the large size and beauty of the thawed berries—most frozen berries don’t look anywhere near as good as the fresh variety. With a touch of sweetener, we were as happy as we could be in the weeks when there were no fresh strawberries in the market.
    HEALTH BENEFITS: Strawberries have more vitamin C than any other berry, and provide significant amounts of fiber, folic acid, potassium and manganese. Their potent antioxidants are red anthocyanin pigments and ellagic acid, also found in tea, which appears to neutralize certain carcinogens. (In lab tests, organic strawberries were found to block growth of cancer cells better than conventional berries.) The antioxidants in strawberries also appear to reduce oxidation of cholesterol in the blood, so may also help deter cardiovascular disease.

Continue To Page 2: How To Use The Berries

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