5 things to do in Meghalaya - the abode of clouds

Berries

The Russian fruit and berry sector is showing steady growth against the background of an increase in the area under fruit and berry plantations, an increase in gross yields and an expansion of state support.
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Berries are small, pulpy, and often edible fruits, typically juicy, rounded, brightly colored, sweet or sour, and do not have a stone or pit, although many pips or seeds may be present. The definition of a berry is based on botanical criteria, and according to this, some fruits commonly referred to as berries are not true berries from a botanical standpoint, and vice versa.

Botanical Definition:

In botanical terms, a berry is a simple fruit with seeds and pulp produced from the ovary of a single flower. It is fleshy throughout, except for the seeds. Examples of true berries in the botanical sense include grapes, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, bananas, and kiwifruit.

Culinary Definition:

Culinary definitions of berries are less strict and largely based on tradition and common usage rather than specific botanical characteristics. In culinary terms, any small, soft fruit with multiple seeds and typically eaten whole is considered a berry. This includes strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, which are not true berries botanically but are universally referred to as such in cooking and everyday language.

Nutritional Value:

Berries are known for their health benefits and are often high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidant polyphenols. Due to their high levels of antioxidants, they are considered one of the healthiest foods and are linked to various health benefits, including improving blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and potentially reducing the risks of certain diseases.

Uses:

Berries are widely consumed worldwide and can be eaten fresh or used in a variety of culinary contexts. They are commonly used in:

Desserts: Pies, tarts, crumbles, and cakes.
Beverages: Juices, smoothies, and wines.
Jams and Preserves: Due to their high natural pectin content, berries are excellent for making jams and jellies.
Snacking: Fresh or dried as healthy snacks.
Sauces and Garnishes: In both sweet and savory dishes.

Cultivation:

Berries are cultivated globally, with different varieties suited to different climates and soil conditions. Some berries are grown wild and harvested, which is particularly common with berries like wild blueberries and lingonberries.

Environmental Impact:

Berries can be sensitive to transport and storage, leading to a significant carbon footprint, especially when they are air-freighted or grown in energy-intensive hot-house conditions. Sustainable cultivation and local sourcing, when possible, are encouraged to minimize environmental impact.

In summary, berries are cherished for their delightful taste, nutritional benefits, and versatility in cooking and baking. Despite the botanical confusion, they continue to be a popular choice for a healthy diet across various cultures.