It’s berry season! One of our favorite times of the year- not only because we have a serious love affair with berries, but also because it reminds us of so many great summer memories with friends and family!
As a kid, I spent hours picking tomatoes, zucchini, peas, beans and berries from our outdoor garden in the summer. Of course, I’d love to actually eat them, but part of the fun came from the adventure of tackling the thorny bushes and emerging with scratches all over my body: battle scars from a worthy cause! The sacrifice was worth it in the end, as we’d always have an overflowing bowl of freshly picked berries in the kitchen, ready to turn into homemade jams, compotes, pies & other baked goods.
Canning was one of my mother’s favorite pastimes; she made homemade pickles, spaghetti sauces, and my favorite….dilly beans! (Which reminds me, I really need to find that recipe and give it a whirl.) For those that aren’t familiar with my beloved dilly beans, they are simply beans pickled with garlic, spices, and fresh dill: crisp and perfectly refreshing on a hot summer day.
We used to get so much fresh produce from the garden that I would go door to door with my little red wagon to sell it to the neighbors. It was a win-win all around. They got a great deal, and I was making some “big bucks”. A man once bought everything in my wagon for $20 (hey, that was a lot back in the late seventies ;)) AND he offered an extra $10 for another delivery.
Last summer, we tore out some unsightly, overgrown bushes and replaced them with a few berry bushes! We planted several raspberry bushes, and this year we added blackberries to the mix. In just a few weeks, I’ll be back out there battling the thorny bushes (and the birds who seem to like them as much as I do) to fill bowls with beautiful, ripe, and tasty berries!
Until then, I’ll have to run to the store when I want to make these berry oat crumble bars. Buttery oat crust + homemade berry chia jam +fresh berries + more buttery oat topping = the ultimate summer breakfast/dessert/snack. These would also be delicious baked in a skillet and served warm with a few scoops of your favorite ice cream!
- 1 1/2 cup fresh mixed berries
- 3 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 3/4 oat flour
- 3/4 cup rice flour
- 18 tbsp (1 cup + 2 tbsp) cold vegan butter
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tblsp hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 1/2 cups fresh mixed berries
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp tart cherry extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp goji berries-optional
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- Heat a saucepan to medium-low and add berries, lemon juice, cinnamon, and vanilla. Let simmer for 15 minutes, occasionally stirring gently with back of a wooden spoon until broken down.
- Remove from stove. Add chia and stir well. Stir again after 5 minutes so chia doesn’t clump together. Let sit for 30-40 min until thickened and liquid is absorbed.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a food processor, add all ingredients except butter. Pulse a few times to combine.
- Cut cold butter into small pieces and add to mixture. Pulse until mixture starts to form together (you can test by pinching between your fingers). Keep cold/cool until ready to use.
- Press half of the mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan that is lined with parchment paper.
- Spread berry chia jam evenly across crust, leaving a half inch border around the edges.
- Cover jam with 1 1/2 cups fresh berries.
- Sprinkle remaining half of oat crumble over the top.
- Bake for 35-40 min, or until the topping is golden brown.
- Let cool completely before cutting into squares.
- Enjoy for breakfast with a cup of tea or coffee, or enjoy for dessert with a heaping scoop of vegan ice cream!