Here are 3 ideas the Rodale Test Kitchen gave a spin recently, from the ridiculously easy yet totally cool berry ice cubes (a great way to get kids to drink water instead of sugary juices), to DIY fruit leather that puts store-bought to shame, and a berry jam you don't have to cook at all. Because when it's that hot in summer, who wants to sweat over a stove?
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BERRY ICE CUBES
Mixed berries, washed, hulled and stemmed
Halve or quarter any large berries to fit the ice cube tray. Distribute the berries among the cubes. Fill with water and freeze until solid. Top with seltzer and mint for a refreshing summer drink, or throw them into gin or vodka-based cocktails for grown-ups.
MIXED BERRY FRUIT LEATHER
Makes about twenty 1" strips
1½ pounds mixed berries (raspberries, strawberries, blackberries), hulled and stemmed
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
honey, to taste