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9 Delicious Ways to Use Sweet Summer Berries

Sweet and juicy summer berries are here! Put them to use in salads, parfaits, muffins and more.
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Sweet and juicy summer berries are here! Put them to use in salads, parfaits, muffins and more...

1. Peaches & Berries with Lemon-Mint Syrup

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This elegant and refreshing fruit salad is perfect for summer entertaining. It's delicious on its own as a healthy dessert but also pairs well with pound cake, vanilla ice cream -- or both! GET THE RECIPE

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Bursting with fresh blueberries with a tender, cakey crumb and sparkling sugar crust, these really are the best blueberry muffins. I've tried fussier recipes that call for mashing some of the blueberries into the batter or even swirling homemade blueberry jam into the mix, but there's no need for all that - this simple recipe tops them all. GET THE RECIPE

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Usually we think of fresh berries as something to eat for breakfast or dessert, but they also make an elegant addition to a savory salad of baby spinach, pecans and goat cheese. I love it as a first course for an outdoor dinner party (it's so pretty and always elicits oohs and aahs), but it's also great served alongside grilled chicken or fish for a luncheon or informal dinner. GET THE RECIPE

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This strawberry treat bears no resemblance to store-bought frozen yogurt or the imitation ice cream served at most fro-yo shops. Instead, it tastes intensely of fresh strawberries -- almost like a cross between strawberry frozen yogurt and strawberry sorbet. My eight-year-old daughter said it best: "It tastes very strawberry-y." GET THE RECIPE

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Created by a hotel chef in the 1920s in honor of the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova, a pavlova is a cake-shaped meringue with a soft and marshmallowy center and crisp outer shell, usually topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit. In this gorgeous chocolate version, cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate are folded into the meringue -- which makes it deliciously fudgy -- and mascarpone cheese (Italian cream cheese) is added to the whipped topping. It's a wonderfully light, gluten-free dessert. GET THE RECIPE

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Fresh berries are delicious on their own but if you're looking for a way to dress them up, elegant parfaits are the way to go. Here, I've layered them with a luscious lemon cream -- essentially a lemon curd lightened with whipped cream -- to brighten their natural sweetness. GET THE RECIPE

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This wonderful recipe was sent to me by Karen Tannenbaum, a longtime reader, avid cook and all-around lovely lady. It's one of the simplest, prettiest, most delicious cakes I've ever made. GET THE RECIPE

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These blueberry muffins flavored with cinnamon and maple syrup strike the perfect balance between wholesome and indulgent. They're lower in fat and sugar than most muffins, enriched with nutritious wheat bran and whole wheat flour, and chockfull of antioxidant-rich blueberries. GET THE RECIPE

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This is one of my favorite fruit salads, and it's such a nice change of pace from the standard mix of pre-cut fruit from the supermarket. I usually serve it for brunch -- it dresses up the table and pairs well with savory quiche and casserole dishes -- but it's also wonderful for dessert served with shortcake and whipped cream. GET THE RECIPE