Friday, August 8, 2008

Blueberries Galore - Recipes and stuff about these sweet little numbers

The Sweet Little Blueberry Marches On!

August has arrived. Time to reinforce your brainpower for back-to-school, fight free radicals, and boost your antioxidant intake and rekindle your mid-summer relationship with the fresh darling of sweet delight, the blueberry. Who knew this tiny but delicious, wild but virtuous, berry of blue had also been performing a tour of duty on your body, playing a double role of peacekeeper and governor—neutralizing those nasty free radicals and quietly up keeping your Vitamin C and E and dietary fibre. Oh so Canadian, eh? Just like our Canadian motto says, “peace, order and good government.” Free radicals by the way, if not countered by antioxidants, can cause damage to cell membranes and DNA through “oxidative stress”. Scientists now believe several life-threatening aging diseases like heart disease, cancer, dementia and Alzheimer’s are directly associated with free radicals. Fortunately, the word is spreading about the healthy powers of our cherished diminutive berry and our little peacekeeper is now gracing dinner tables around the world in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, the United Kingdom and Europe. It seems, everyone is hankering for a piece of the pie!

No worries, there’s lots to go around. Growing wild, and cultivated, across Canada, the blueberry will be waltzing into Canadian kitchens this month, from British Columbia to Newfoundland, popping up in all sorts of delightful concoctions for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Since blueberries top the antioxidant list in the fruit and vegetable category all you need to fulfill your daily antioxidant intake of these fresh little power kegs of nutrients is one cup per day—fresh or frozen. A handful at every meal and you’ve fought the good fight, everyday. On top of this, scientists also think blueberries may reduce LDL cholesterol build-up and improve your fine motor, memory and explorative skills.

There’s no need to Mapquest these nutritious little beauties because they’re readily available frozen (year round) or fresh at roadside stands and grocery stores, right now. Better still, use those antioxidant explorative powers and make a day of discovering “you pick it” places all on your own. Here’s the scoop though, the blueberry season is short and the blueberry’s storage life is even shorter! Choose firm berries and store them in the refrigerator or freezer but be sure to remove any soft or moldy berries from the batch first.

Try these recipes to sharpen your wits:
Breakfast Blueberry Smoothie
1 banana
½ c blueberries (fresh or frozen)
½ c plain low fat yogurt or frozen low-fat flavoured yogurt
¼ c milk (optional)
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for a few hours.

Blueberry Pie with Ginger Crust

Cooking time: 8 min Chilling time: 3 hours
1-1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (in a food processor grind up about 35 cookies or 1/2 a bag of PC English Gingersnaps)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

2-1/2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp cold water

1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 cups (1 L) blueberries
1 tbsp lemon juice

Crust: In small bowl, combine cookie crumbs with sugar; stir in butter until moistened. Press evenly onto bottom and sides of 9-inch pie plate. Bake in 375°F (190°C) oven for 8 minutes. Cool on rack

Filling:In medium saucepan, mix cornstarch with water. Add sugar and 1-1/2 cups blueberries; bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 to 2 minutes, stirring, until very thick and clear. Remove from heat; stir in remaining blueberries and lemon juice. Mix well and pour into pie crust. Refrigerate until set (about 3 hours). Serve with Maple Whipped Cream.

Maple Whipped Cream: Beat 1/2 cup whipping cream or Cool Whip with 2 tbsp Ontario Maple Syrup until stiff. Store in refrigerator.

Wholesome Blueberry Muffins
1 cup oats
1 cup buttermilk (substitute with: 1 cup milk+1 tbsp vinegar)
½ c canola oil
½ cup brown sugar
1 beaten egg
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup blueberries
Mix oats, buttermilk, oil, brown sugar and beaten egg in a bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients in another bowl and then stir in blueberries. Add the wet first mixture to the dry mixture. Do not over mix. Stir 17 times, just enough to moisten dry ingredients.-mixture will be lumpy. Spray grease or line a 12-size muffin tin with large muffin paper cups and drop mixture into cups. Bake at 400F for 15-18 minutes.


Anonymous said...

LOVE the blueberry photo! And the recipes, natch!

Barrhaven Bites said...

Thanks I took it myself in the backyard. Blueberries are just so darned photogenic!