Holly and mistletoe (and their red berries) have long been popular during winter holidays. Early Europeans used holly during winter solstice celebrations and traditions actually date back to ancient times. The holy and ivy were said to ward off evil spirits during the winter months (the howling, icy wind thought to be ghosts and demons) and the romantic custom of kissing under the mistletoe dates back to ancient Norse Mythology. According to the tradition, which became popular with servants in 18th century Britain, it is bad luck to refuse a kiss beneath the usually parasitic plant and after the kiss the couple is supposed to pluck one of the berries from the decoration. Once all of the berries are gone, there is no need to kiss under that particular mistletoe anymore.
While we still use mistletoe and holly for decorating for Christmas and other winter holidays, we mostly really love using fresh berries to brighten our food and drinks for our holiday festivities. The best part about 2017 is that you can get fresh berries year-round, which means that you can have the juicy, colorful, antioxidant-packed fruits even during the dreariest days of winter.
Berries can add some sweet color to a cheese appetizer, or holiday martini. They should also, most definitely, make their way onto your baking list and you can add the fruit to pies, cakes, breakfast muffins, and pastries. You really can’t beat the taste (and look) of fresh berries.
We’ve shared some berry cocktails, appetizers, and desserts to inspire you and your holiday planning. We like to think of them as BERRY delicious.
Rim a martini glass with the crushed candy cane. You might need to first rim the glass with lemon to make the candy stick.
Fill your cocktail shaker halfway with ice and add vodka, triple sec, and pomegranate juice. Shake. Pour the mixture into the glass. Garnish with, pom arils, two raspberries and a sprig of rosemary.
Muddle limes, mint leaves, blackberries, and sugar. Do not strain.
Add ice to the glass and pour the rum over the ice and stir. Add club soda and garnish with mint leaves and blackberries.
Add the berries to a glass and muddle well.
Fill the glass with ice and add simple syrup, lime juice, and vodka and stir well. Top with ginger ale and add the rosemary sprig and a lime wedge.
Baked Blueberry Brie
Preheat oven to 350°F. Separate dough and lay crosswise on a greased baking pan. Firmly press perforations together to seal. Place cheese on center of dough. Spread jam on top and add blueberries.
Fold dough around the cheese and press together firmly to seal. Brush dough with beaten egg.
Bake at 350°F for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with assorted crackers, bread, or apple slices.
Mixed Berry Pie
Preheat the oven to 400°F and prepare pie crusts as directed on package.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Add the blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and lemon juice; gently toss until berries are coated. Spoon the mixture into the pastry-lined pie plate and dot with butter.
Place the top crust over the pie. Seal and flute edges and cut small slits in the center of the top crust.
Bake 50-60 min or until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden. Cool on a wire rack.