Boozy Red Berry Fruit Salad

If you hadn’t noticed, I’m currently in a salad phase; and this phase finds itself perfectly timed, as summer is in full swing. This past week on the blog serendipitously turned into an unofficial salad week; I couldn’t help it. Warmer weather makes way for lighter meals, cocktails and later nights than I care to say; but at least there’s salad.

It’s no secret that salad is an amazing way to infuse nutrients into our beings; and, where salads were once after thoughts, today they are celebrated. And this salad is pretty boss if you ask me!

Raspberries the co-star in this refreshing summer salad, are packed with vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants; and they are considered one of the most nutritious fruits once can consume. When summer hits, you can find me belly up to a bowl of these babies at all times; summer is THEIR time! I mean, I’m from Alberta, where during berry season, if you sneeze you are likely to miss it- it’s our cross to bear! And us ladies of menstruating age should all be fans of the crimson gem, as they are also an excellent source of iron- coincidence that they are red…you decide.

But not one to stand in the corner, strawberries also deserve to be heralded. In addition to be very high in antioxidant activity, strawberries boost the immune system and help with wound healing, prevent arterial damage, promote iron absorption and strengthen blood vessel walls. Not to mention they boast fiber, vitamin C, folate and potassium.

But there are some housekeeping rules when it comes to the mighty berry. Unlike other fruits that ripen when harvested, berries rot; so they require a little bit of know how, in order to prolong their lives. First, wash the berries right before you are about to eat them; once washed, berries start to go bad, fast. And, second, pick through your berries when you buy them and remove all the rotten ones; they release a chemical that expedites the rotting process.

Now, I would remiss if I didn’t talk organics. Although I endeavor not to preach, because I know organic living can be quite pricey, berries should be organic- especially strawberries, as they find themselves on the dirty dozen list. But lucky for us all, these berry-licious gems are in season and can be sourced locally for a song; thank Mother Nature!

This red berry fruit salad is a treat, not just because it’s brimming with berries; but because it’s also boozy too! Berries have this innate ability to absorb the wonder that is wine; and with the sun shining, I couldn’t resist boosting this dish’s fun factor. But because I believe firmly in balance, I threw in some chia seeds- balance people, BALANCE!

When making the syrup, if you happen to be using gas, be sure not to touch the liquid to the flame- it will make fire. And the fire department hates being called out for cocktail mishaps. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

It’s summer; it’s a long weekend; why not get some antioxidants with your booze ?!

¼ cup cointreau
¼ cup white wine
10 basil leaves
½ tsp raw honey
10 oz strawberries, halved
7 oz raspberries
½ tbsp black chia seeds
5 basil leaves, chiffonade
¼ cup san Pellegrino

Bring the cointreau, white wine, honey and 10 basil leaves to boil; then reduce to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the basil leave and discard; and cool.

In a large bowl, gently toss the strawberries, raspberries and chia seed. Once the syrup is cool, mix with the berries and garnish with the remaining basil.

To serve, top with San Pellegrino.