Blueberries Are in Season!

— Written By and last updated by Jessica Griffin

Why eat blueberries? That’s a loaded question, loaded with lots of reasons to eat blueberries!! With just 80 calories per cup and virtually no fat, blueberries offer many noteworthy nutritional benefits. Here’s the skinny on blueberry nutrition:

A diet rich in blueberries lowers blood cholesterol levels while improving glucose control and insulin sensitivity, lowering the risk of subsequent heart disease and diabetes.

Blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidant vitamins that boost your immunity and prevent infections.

Blueberries aid in reducing belly fat. Not only has research proven blueberries can reduce belly fat but they can also reduce the risk factors for heart disease.

Blueberries have been proven to preserve your vision and slow down vision loss. They are great for brain health, and even have been proven to restore damaged brain cells.

Blueberries are high in fiber and are also believed to aid in the prevention of liver and colon cancer.

The fabulous blueberry has also proven to keep you fresh, active, fit, sharp and in a great mood!!

Come on out to the farmers market and get you some fresh local blueberries!

Chicken and Blueberry Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of fat
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat bow tie, or whatever is your favorite
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Place chicken in a skillet or saucepan and add enough water to cover; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool. Shred into bite-size strips.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender, about 9 minutes or according to package directions. Drain. Place in a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, place oil and shallot in a small skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, 2 to 5 minutes. Add broth, feta and lime juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the feta begins to melt, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken to the bowl with the pasta. Add the dressing, blueberries, thyme, lime zest and salt and toss until combined.

Note: To make ahead, Add everything except the blueberries and dressing to the pasta salad. Cover and refrigerate pasta salad, blueberries and dressing separately for up to 1 day. Toss together just before serving.

Serves 6. Each serving contains: calories, 11 g fat, 49 mg cholesterol, 33 g carbohydrates, 23 g protein, 5 g fiber, 238 mg sodium, 237 mg potassium.

Teriyaki Pork Chops with Blueberry-Ginger Relish

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in center-cut pork chops, (about 1¾ pounds), trimmed of fat

Marinade

  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Blueberry-Ginger Relish

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 Serrano chili, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. To marinate: Place pork chops in a large sealable plastic bag. Whisk soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar and crushed red pepper in a small bowl. Add the marinade to the bag, seal and turn to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. To prepare relish: About 20 minutes before grilling the pork, combine blueberries, shallot, chili, cilantro, lime juice, ginger and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Preheat grill to high. Remove the pork chops from the marinade (discard marinade). Grill the chops 3 to 5 minutes per side. Let them rest for 5 minutes before serving with the relish.

Serves 4. Each serving contains: 229 calories, 8 g fat, 81 mg cholesterol, 7 g carbohydrates, 0 g sugars, 30 g protein, 1 g fiber, 237 mg sodium, 44 mg potassium.

Blueberry and Fruit Salad with Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 (10-ounce) package Italian-blend salad greens (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cups grilled chicken breast strips (such as Louis Rich; about 6 ounces)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup quartered strawberries
  • 1 cup sliced banana
  • 1 cup sliced peeled kiwifruit (about 3 kiwifruit)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons herbed goat cheese

Raspberry Dressing

  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ¼ cup raspberry or red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Arrange 1½ cups salad greens on each of 4 plates. Divide the remaining ingredients except Raspberry Dressing equally among 4 plates.
  2. Combine and whisk ingredients listed for the Raspberry Dressing. Drizzle each serving with 3 tablespoons.

Serves 4. Each serving contains (Totals include Raspberry Dressing): 332 calories, 8.8 g fat, 15.9 g protein, 53.3 g carbohydrate, 5.9 g fiber, 32 mg cholesterol, 699 mg sodium, 114 mg calcium.

Blueberry Chicken Salad Wraps

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup celery, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • ¾ cup fresh blueberries
  • 6 large lettuce leaves
  • 6 whole-wheat tortillas

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, celery and salt.
  2. Gently stir in chicken and blueberries.
  3. To warm tortillas, place a damp paper towel on a microwave-safe plate and top it with a tortilla. Repeat to make a stack of paper towels and tortillas, topped with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high until hot, 30-60 seconds.
  4. Place warm tortillas on counter and top each with a lettuce leaf. Scoop about ½ cup chicken-blueberry salad on each lettuce leaf. Roll up each tortilla and cut in half. Secure with toothpicks if desired.
  5. Serve immediately or wrap tightly in foil and refrigerate.

Makes 12 wraps.

Tried and True Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1¼ cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through nutmeg) in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Combine buttermilk, egg, and rind; stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist. Gently fold in blueberries.
  4. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until the muffins spring back when lightly touched. Remove muffins from pans immediately, and place on a wire rack to cool.
  5. Combine lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze evenly over cooled muffins.

Note: You can make these muffins up to 2 days ahead and glaze them the morning of the brunch.

Yields 1 dozen. Serving size is one muffin. Each serving contains: 187 calories, 4.8 g fat, 3.7 g protein, 32.6 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 30 mg cholesterol, 264 mg sodium, 59 mg calcium.