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by Kirsten Hartvig
After enjoying the author's other book on Healing Spices, I had to try this one. It starts out by defining what a berry is and which are fruits according to science, what we commonly think of as berries which is mostly the criteria for what is included in the book and how that might differ from strict scientific classification.
The berries are described in an encyclopedic section wherein each of the berries included is generally described with its Latin name, natural region, classification, physical description and any other relevant details. We are told under separate subheadings about its habitat, phytonutrients, qualities, availability and storage, culinary uses and different varieties. This section is followed by the largest section, called Cooking With Berries. Here is where the recipes start, complete with nutrition and health benefit information.
The author is vegan and although she makes some concessions to meat eaters, the recipe collection as a whole is of a nature that would appeal to people with health food lifestyles and what you might expect to find in a health food restaurant. It starts with various combinations of fruit and nut snacks, musli, things combined with yogurt, followed by some recipes for commonly known dishes like Shepherd's Pie but with berry additions. A couple of the berry sauces to add to meat will be added to my own recipes collection.
There are some creative combinations and adaptations as well as a section for desert recipes. A Danish pastry recipe made with raspberries sounds very appealing and noting the author's Scandinavian name, I expect it will be very nice! Mostly there are berry/fruit and yogurt ideas with some pastry baking recipes that involve berries and nuts.
Overall I like the book and found the information about health benefits of berries very interesting, though the recipes generally are mostly not to my personal taste. Still, they provide ideas for variations and many people who have more healthy eating habits will find some nice ideas here.