Ripe, juicy berries are synonymous with summer, and although we are slowly closing out that season, there is no need to panic, frozen berries, can make some amazing things as well. These outrageous and incredibly easy, summer berry crumble bars are loaded with fresh and frozen berries and they are exactly what you need in your life right now. Slice-to-size, these fruit forward bars make a fantastic dessert for big or small gatherings alike and may just elevate your Labor Day celebration to a whole new playing field.
With seasonal produce of all kinds you get richer flavor and full nutrient composition because your produce is picked at peak ripeness. Buying produce seasonally allows you to buy locally and support local farmers with a nod to sustainability. That my friends, is a win-win. I also support buying seasonal fruit and freezing it for later, to be used in recipes like this, whenever the craving arises. But truth-be-told, most shoppers don’t know when produce is in season, so here’s a quick reference guid to help you out.
Summer Produce Calendar
- Apricots (May – July)
- Armenian cucumber (June – Aug.)
- Asian pear (July – Sept.)
- Basil (June – Aug.)
- Beets (All year, June – Oct.)
- Bell peppers (July – Nov.)
- Blackberries (May – Sept.; peak from June – July)
- Blueberries (April – Sept.)
- Butter lettuce (June – Aug.)
- Cherries (May – Aug.)
- Corn (May – Sept.)
- Cucumber (May – Aug.)
- Eggplant (July – Oct.)
- Grape tomatoes (June – Aug.)
- Green beans (May – Oct.)
- Honeydew melons (June – Oct.)
- Limes (May – Oct.)
- Mint (Year round, in warmer climates)
- Nectarines (May – Aug.)
- Peaches (May – Sept.; peak in July – Aug.)
- Plums (May – Oct.)
- Raspberries (July – Oct.)
- Shallots (June – Sept.)
- Strawberries (April – June)
- Summer squash (June – Aug.)
- Tomatillo (June – Aug.)
- Tomatoes (June – Aug.)
- Watermelon (June – Aug.)
- Zucchini (June – Aug.)
I case you didn’t already know, strawberries are packed with vitamins, fiber, and particularly high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols. And strawberries are also a sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie food. They are among the top 20 fruits in antioxidant capacity and are a good source of manganese and potassium.
Like blackberries, blueberries are also a fantastic source of fiber and packed with loads of antioxidants. Despite their name, blueberries are actually a purple fruit because they contain the antioxidant anthocyanin, which contribute to their blue-purple pigment. Blueberries are a low-calorie and nutrient-dense source of dietary fiber and I love adding them in just about everything.
In my berry crumble bar recipe I use fresh strawberries and frozen wild blueberries which may seem odd to some. Here’s my reasoning. Freezing blueberries is believed to make makes blueberries powerful antioxidants more available to the human body. This is possible because anthocyanins, (the antioxidant compounds that make blueberries blue), are found in the skin of the berry. Freezing blueberries creates tiny ice crystals that disrupt the structure of the cells, which in turn makes it easier for our system to access the anthocyanins contained within the skin. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. Because of this, one cup serving of fresh blueberries contains 3.6 grams of fiber, while the same serving of frozen blueberries has 6.2 grams of fiber.
My crumble bars are not health food, but we all deserve a treat sometimes. This recipe works just as well with fresh blueberries as well so don’t let that factor stop you, these bars bake up perfectly just the same.
Summer Berry Crumble Bars
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, small cubes
- 1 large egg , lightly whisked
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and diced
- 1 cup frozen wild blueberries
- 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment, lighly oil and aside.
- Step 2 In a medium medium bowl, add the flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt, mix to blend. Add the butter and the egg and use your hands to blend the ingredients. Note, the dough will be crumbly.Place half the crumble mixture into the prepared baking pan.
- Step 3 In another medium size mixing bowl, add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and vanilla extract. Use a large rubber tip spatula to gently fold in the berries.
- Step 4 Pour the berry mixture over the crust. Take the other half of the crumb mixture and sprinkle on top of the berries.
- Step 5 Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the crumb topping is slightly brown.
- Step 6 Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing.
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