Janie Hibler, food writer and cookbook author in Portland, OR, shares her secrets for using berries in every day recipes.

eat your heart out

"You can't live in the Pacific Northwest and not eat and pick berries," says Janie, who grew up in Humboldt County, California. "Kids snack on berries that grow in the redwood forests or alongside streams. The soil and climate here are ideal growing conditions." Janie's childhood inspired her book The Berry Bible (Morrow, 2004), which took 10 years to become a reality. In that time, science uncovered the health benefits of the antioxidants packed into her beloved berries. "They are Mother Nature's edible little pills."


Berries are available year round, but buy them in season
 You'll get the sweetest flavor and lowest prices. Freeze them in a single layer until firm before storing in resealable plastic bags for up to a year -- except for blueberries, "which freeze like marbles" and can go straight into a freezer bag.

Serve fresh berries at room temperature to maximize their flavor
 Also, older strawberry plants turn out less flavorful fruit, so brighten up any bland ones with a few drops of lemon or lime juice.

You can save a pint of moldy raspberries
 Trash the hairy culprits, then rinse the others, sprinkle them with sugar and stir gently. Let them sit for 20 minutes and use as a topping for ice cream or pancakes.