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Friday, July 16, 2010
Berries: Naturally Gluten-Free
About a year ago, I started making smoothies on a daily basis. I realized I wasn't getting enough fruit in my diet basically because it was difficult to eat. Without getting into details, I had braces and four oral surgeries in the past 2 years. NOT FUN. Anyway, I wanted to get more fruit in my diet and figured a smoothie was a quick and easy way to do this. I started buying frozen strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries but realized they were really expensive. A bag of frozen Dole strawberries averaged $3.50 at my local supermarket. Blueberries and raspberries cost even more. I found berries at the dollar store one day in the freezer section but I always question the food at those stores. (I bought 5 bags anyway!)

Fast forward a couple of months when I finally Googled "freezing berries." Voila! It can be done very easily and in these prime summer months it saves me a ton of money. I am lucky to live in a neighborhood with tons of fruit and veggie stands as well as bodegas and carts on the corner selling produce. Whenever I see a good deal, I pick up as many bushels as I can carry. For those of you living outside of the city, like my sister, you have the luxury of picking your own. Us city girls gotta get creative!

Yesterday I bought two big boxes of strawberries and a pint of blueberries. Grand total: $3.00!! This was fifty cents cheaper than a bag of Dole strawberries and I not only got two types of berries, but I had nearly double the amount of berries that I would find in a frozen bag of berries.

Here are my easy steps to freezing berries:

1. Wash all berries thoroughly.
2. Discard any bruised berries or cut around the bad spots. For strawberries, cut off the stem.
3. Spread the berries evenly on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels.
4. Pop the cookie sheet in the freezer and wait about 2 hours.
5. Store the frozen berries in an air-tight container or a Ziploc bag.
6. Use in smoothies, desserts, yogurts, etc.
7. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Fun Smoothie Recipe
1 full banana
1 handful (cup) of strawberries
1/2 cup of blueberries, peaches, pineapple, or any other fruit
1/2 cup of skim or soy milk
3 ice cubes
1 tbsp. of flax meal or flax seeds, if desired
I prefer the meal because the seeds make for a gritty shake

Put all ingredients in the blender for about 1 minute.

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