What's In Season: July

How to select: The best of these large, bramble-borne fruits appear plump and purple-black. (Blackberries with stems still attached were picked prematurely.) Check carefully for mold, and discard any seeping berries. Refrigerate, but enjoy within a couple of days.

Preparation tips: Add to pies, smoothies, and batters every chance you get. For a delectable summer salsa, mix slightly mashed blackberries (and other berries) with minced jalapeño or chipotle chili, chopped fresh cilantro and mint, and a little lemon or lime juice; serve over grilled salmon, steak, or chicken.

Health benefits: Along with 50 percent of your daily vitamin C dose, 1 cup of blackberries also contributes potassium, folic acid, and fiber.

—Elisa Bosley

Goat Cheese–Blackberry Tart (Serves 12)

2 cups dates, pitted and chopped (about 20 large dates)
1 cup almond meal
1 egg white, slightly beaten

12 ounces goat cheese, softened
4 ounces low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 cups blackberries
6 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1-1/2 tablespoons cold water
3 cups blackberries, for topping

1. Preheat oven to 400º. Lightly coat a 10-inch tart pan with removable sides with cooking spray. Combine dates and almond meal in a food processor and pulse 15–20 times. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in egg white with a fork until incorporated. Press mixture onto tart pan bottom. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven to cool.

2. For the filling, beat goat cheese and cottage cheese with an electric mixer until fairly smooth. Add sugar, lemon peel, and juice and beat until smooth. (For extra-smooth consistency, do this step in a blender.) Spread cheese mixture evenly over cooled crust and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.

3. For the purée, place 2 cups berries in a blender or food processor and purée. Transfer to a small saucepan and cook on medium heat for 2–3 minutes. Add sugar; reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook another 5 minutes. In a small bowl, dissolve arrowroot powder in cold water. Gradually add arrowroot mixture to berry mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

4. Spread cooled purée over cheese filling. Cover tart and keep refrigerated until serving time. Just before serving, arrange fresh berries on top. Slide a sharp knife around the inside edge of the pan and remove pan sides.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Calories: 314 calories % fat calories: 30 Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 13mg Carbohydrate: 48g Protein: 10g Fiber: 8g Sodium: 135mg This recipe is provided by James Rouse, ND, the creator of Optimum Wellness and The Fit Kitchen, seen weekly on NBC’s KUSA television news.