Berried Out? 5 Ways to Use Up Leftover Berries

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Got a little carried away at the U-pick farm and now buried in berries, like this reader yesterday? Maybe you took advantage of the farmers market deal and bought three baskets instead of just one? Preserve or use up the surplus in a variety of ways, from hearty salads to tart-sweet syrups.

1. Freezing. Wash and dry the berries. Trim, then freeze them whole or in pieces in a single layer until solid. Store in freezer bags, then make smoothies or throw them into drinks or cocktails as flavored ice cubes.

2. Jams. If the thought of canning jam intimidates you, skip it if you'll eat the jam quickly enough, or just freeze the jam in small quantities instead. Jam can be folded into whipped cream to make a dessert fool, used as an ice cream topper, or sandwiched between cookies.

3. Pickles. Pickling adds sourness and changes the character of the berries to sweet-tart-savory, making them more versatile to use in savory dishes. Pickles are a great way to preserve berries for a longer period of time.

4. Sauces and Syrups. Sauces and syrups are a good way to use up a lot of berries but still end up with a versatile condiment that's intensely flavored. Cook the berries down with sugar or a sweetener, blend, and strain out any seeds if you want. Add a little lemon or lime juice to balance it all out and fancy up your pancakes or waffles.

5. Salads. Berries can replace the tomatoes in your normal salad, be sprinkled on to add sweetness or acidity, or be used a healthy way to flavor and thicken salad dressings.

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(Image credits: Megan Gordon; Andrea Bemis; Emma Christensen)