Monday, January 19, 2009

Fruit of the week- Boysenberry

A boysenberry is a type of glossy, large, juicy berry related to the North American blackberry. In addition to being eaten fresh during the brief growing season, boysenberries are also incorporated into jams, preserves, and syrups. Their flavor is somewhat reminiscent of a raspberry, with a more tart undertone, especially when the berries are not fully ripened. They are available from grocery stores and farmers' markets, but since boysenberries are not very stable off the vine, it is important to eat them within two or three days of purchase.

The inventor of the boysenberry is believed to be Rudolph Boysen, who experimented with various berry crosses in Napa, California in the 1920s. In 1923, his cross of a blackberry, loganberry, and raspberry successfully grew and bore fruit. The boysenberry was acquired by Walter Knott, a Southern California berry farmer, who started selling the fruit commercially in 1935. Boysenberries and boysenberry preserves helped to make Knott's business famous around the state.

The distinctly tart flavor of a fresh boysenberry makes them very popular in areas where they can be obtained. When selecting boysenberries to take home, look for evenly sized and colored specimens with no areas of mushiness. Keep the berries under refrigeration in a watertight container far from apples and bananas, which emit ethylene gas, and use them within three days. If the berries are not going to be used in time, you may want to consider using them to make jam. Boysenberries can be scattered fresh on pancakes and waffles, used as a pie filling, or added as a decorative accent to cheesecakes and tarts. They can also, of course, simply be eaten plain, or as part of a fruit salad.

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Health Benefits-
~High in Vitamin C and fiber both of which have been shown to help reduce the risks of certain cancers.
~Contain high levels of anthocyanins (120-160 mg/ 100g) that work as antioxidants to help fight free radical damage in the body and give Boysenberries their deep, dark color.

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Recipe for the fruit of the week, provided by

Cinnamon-Wheat Pancakes with Hot Boysenberry Compote

2 cups frozen boysenberries
1/3 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla

For Compote:
1.) Combine boysenberries and apple juice in a small saucepan; simmer for 5 minutes.
2.) In a separate bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch and add to berry mixture, gently stirring until it boils.
3.)Remove compote from heat and let it cool slightly until it thickens.
For Pancakes:
1.) Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk in a small bowl; set aside.
2.) In a larger bowl, combine flour, cinnamon and sugar.
3.) Add buttermilk mixture, egg whites and vanilla, and blend.
4.) Spray griddle with vegetable-oil cooking spray.
5.) Ladle pancake mixture onto griddle and cook until pancakes are light brown on both sides.
6.) Serve with boysenberry compote.

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