Breaking Down Berry Barriers
We’re in such a unique climate in the Pacific Northwest, one that grows strawberries as sweet as any in France, lingonberries that rival those of the Nordic countries, and native varietals like Salmonberry or Salal Berry.
It’s hard to resist passing by a fresh berry basket at your (digital) Farmer’s Market or grocery store, the fragrance can be sweet and aromatic, woody and tannic, or tantalizingly musty and sweet. Nature has tricked us into loving the sweet taste of berries and all the better for it, since they tend to be low in calories but high in antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber.
If you’re looking for a more scientific approach to our obsession with berries, here’s an excerpt from Simon Cotton’s article on the Science of Strawberries:
“The balance of sweetness and acidity is very important to the taste of a strawberry. As strawberries ripen, their sugar content rises from about 5% in unripe green fruit to 6–9% on ripening. At the same time, the acidity decreases, meaning ripe strawberries taste much sweeter.
The ripening process is controlled by a hormone called auxin. When its activity reaches its peak, it causes the cell wall to degrade and so a ripe strawberry becomes juicy as well as sweet. At the same time, gaseous molecules from the strawberries make their way up the back of the throat to our nose when we chew on them, where they plug into smell receptors.”
There’s some fascinating stuff in there! We literally evolved to love eating these sweet things, so we might as well just embrace it. Summertime is berry season here in the Pacific Northwest — why fight it?
Okay, the real reason you’re here is because you’d like to know what to do with all these berries piling up in your basket… so without further ado, here’s a brief visual guide to 15 Pacific Northwest Berries.
(And, if you’re looking to discover some new berries, might we recommend checking out this FRESH NW Berry 3-Pack?)