Plump, bright berries are summer’s sweetest gems. Learn how to make the most of raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and mixed berries (more on strawberries here!), and find some of our favorite ways to use them, straight from the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen.
Berries: Everything You Need to Know
What to Look For
Look for berries that are shiny, bright and plump. Be sure to check the bottom of the container for fruit that is bruised, wet or moldy. Handle berries with care, and plan to use them as soon after purchasing as possible. If needed, refrigerate blackberries, raspberries and strawberries in single layers on paper towels in an airtight container for no more that a day or two; blueberries will keep up to 1 week.
Wash berries just before use; the excess moisture can cause them to mold. To bring out their juices, sprinkle raspberries and blackberries with a little sugar (about 1 tablespoon for ever pint) and let stand at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes. Pinch off any stems from blueberries and discard before rinsing.
Your Berry Toolkit
- Melamine Berry Colander, for rinsing berries
- All-Clad Stainless-Steel Measuring Cups & Spoons, to measure berries for preserving and baking
- Porcelain Berry Basket, to serve fresh berries
- 10-Piece Glass Bowl Set, for prepping or mixing berries before baking
- Kilner Stainless-Steel Jam Pan, for cooking berries into jams, jellies and preserves
- KitchenAid Stand Mixer Fruit & Vegetable Strainer Attachment, to strain fruit purees for jams, jellies, and other spreads
Berries are delicious eaten out of hand, especially when they’re fresh and ripe at the height of summer. They are also great for making into jams or baking into pies, cakes and tarts. One of the speediest and most versatile ways to prepare berries is to macerate them. Below are a few simple preparations—no recipe required.
Mixed Greens with Raspberry Vinaigrette: Whisk together raspberry vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey and salt. Toss mixed greens, raspberries, candied pecans and thinly sliced red onions with the vinaigrette.
Quinoa with Blueberries, Toasted Walnuts & Mint: toss cooked quinoa with blueberries, toasted walnuts and a handful of chopped fresh mint. Drizzle with walnut oil and lemon juice.
Grilled Pork Chops with a Blackberry Port Sauce: Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Grill 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Simmer blackberries, port, chicken broth, honey and minced shallot until reduced and berries are soft. Drizzle on pork chops.
Berry Bread Pudding: Whisk together 6 eggs, 3 cups cream, 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Pour over 1-inch cubes of ciabatta or other crusty bread and refrigerate overnight. Fold in berries and bake at 350ºF until set.
Pavlovas with Strawberries: Quarter 1 pint strawberries; toss with sugar and lemon juice. Whip 3 egg whites, 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar until stiff and glossy. Spread 3-inch disks of mixture on a baking sheet and bake at 250ºF until crispy. Top meringues with strawberries.
Berry Popsicles: Puree berries, sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice in a blender. Strain, then pour into popsicle molds and add sticks. Freeze until solid.
These lemon-kissed buttermilk tartlets with fresh berries make a perfect base for the juicy berries.
You don’t have to bake to pull off a beautiful, elegant dessert, especially with summer’s sweet berries on hand. Here, berries are topped with sabayon, a silky custard made by whisking eggs, sugar and wine over low heat on the stove top.
For an astoundingly vibrant flavor, use fresh blackberries in this blackberry-buttermilk sherbet. Refreshing, slightly tangy and not too rich, this frozen treat makes a perfect summer dessert for those evenings you don’t want anything too heavy.
This luscious blueberry-huckleberry Grand Marnier tart pays tribute to the huckleberries that grow abundantly in the Pacific Northwest.