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Berry Blue Summer

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Summer is over its hump, and the time of savouring its fruits is in full swing. These days, I often make bi-weekly trips to the farmer’s market in order to stock up on strawberries, cherries, apricots, peaches, zucchini, tomatoes, and bunches of delightful leafy greens and aromatic herbs. One of my favourite things to snack on currently are blueberries. I usually buy them in bulk and then toss a handful into anything and everything I can think of – breakfast cereal and pancakes, fruit salads and pies – including drinks! Here are some blueberry beverages that you may not have tried yet that are perfect for hot summer days.

Blueberry, Banana, and Basil Milkshake

Blueberries, bananas, and what milkshake?! Trust me, basil tastes awesome with sweet fruit – I often add it to jam sandwiches and use it to add life to roasted peaches or strawberries. Have faith in me, and when you make your next milkshake, add a heaping handful of fresh, fragrant basil right into that summer bounty. I have to confess that, when I’m not hungry on a really hot day, I have this milkshake instead of lunch. It keeps me nicely full and energetic right until dinner time!

Slice 1 large banana into a blender, add 1 – 2 tbsp fresh blueberries and a handful of basil (believe me, there’s no such thing as too much). Top up with chilled milk to the 1.5 cup mark. Blend everything until smooth and serve immediately. For extra creaminess, freeze the chopped banana prior to blending. If basil is really not your thing, try substituting it with mint for added freshness.

Blueberry and Redcurrant Granita

I first tried granita while holidaying in Sicily last year. A sweet, fruity, icy compromise between a frappé and a sorbet, granita is the perfect summer refreshment. Sicilians would have it at any time of day, not infrequently for breakfast accompanied by a fluffy brioche. The quintessential Sicilian granita is made from almonds, but once you’ve got the process down any kind of fruit will do, especially that which is too ripe for eating fresh.

Dissolve 1/4 cup of sugar in 1/2 cup of hot water with 1 tbsp lemon juice, stirring constantly. Then, blend 1.5 cups of fresh berries (what berries you use is unimportant – I had about a cup of tired redcurrants in the fridge that I topped up with fresh blueberries), add the syrup, and blend everything until combined. Pour the mixture into an adequate container and place in the freezer. Take it out every 30 minutes and scrape the frozen edges towards the middle, repeating the process about 3 – 4 times. Consume as you see fit!

Blueberry Green Iced Tea

This idea I owe entirely to the Harney & Sons tea blenders. I found their Blueberry Green tea while looking for a gift for a blueberry loving friend recently and thought, why not try it at home? And why not make a chilled version?! Although it sounds pretty fancy, it’s super-easy to make!

Prepare a cup of green tea the way you would normally (Chinese is the norm, but Sencha works well, I find, because of its mild flavour), adding a teaspoon or two of blueberries to the mesh sieve. After the tea has steeped, crush the berries in the sieve with a spoon to release all their lovely juices into the tea. Add a squeeze of limea drop of agave syrup if you’ve got a sweet tooth, and let chill in the fridge until perfection.

Have a berry blue summer!

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