Blueberries, a Small Package Loaded With Nutrition

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These tiny little gems do indeed pack a potent punch. Blueberries rank the highest of any fruit for antioxidants, and one cup delivers 14% of the recommended daily dose of fiber and nearly a quarter of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.

Blueberries are also low in calories — fewer than 100 for a full cup. The stunning deep blue hue is due to their high anthocyanin content, which gives certain fruits and veggies their deep blues and reds. The berry is celebrated throughout July — the peak of its harvest — during National Blueberry Month. Often, we start seeing them locally a little sooner than July, so get ready and be on the lookout for fresh blueberries.

Ginger Blueberry Shortcake

4 cups blueberries

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces

3 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger

3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk

1 large egg white

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar or granulated sugar

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat; cook 3 minutes or until berries begin to pop, stirring frequently. Set aside.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Place flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor; pulse 3 times to combine. Add butter and ginger to processor; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Place mixture in a large bowl; add milk, stirring just until moist. Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured surface. Press mixture into a 7-inch circle; cut into 8 wedges. Place wedges 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. Combine egg white and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Lightly brush tops of wedges with egg white mixture; sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Place cream in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Split shortcakes in half horizontally; spoon 1/3 cup berry mixture over each bottom half. Top each with 1 1/2 tablespoons whipped cream; cover with shortcake tops.

 

Serves 8, each serving contains; Calories 319, Fat 13 g., Protein 5 g., Carbohydrates 47 g., Fiber 3 g., Cholesterol 38 mg., Sodium 415 mg.

Chicken Blueberry Salad

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 skinned and boned chicken breast halves

1 celery rib, chopped

1/2 cup sweet onion, diced

1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup shredded carrot

4 cups torn mixed salad greens

1 cup fresh blueberries

Whisk together first 6 ingredients. Reserve half of mixture, and chill.

Place chicken in a shallow dish or heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; pour remaining mixture over chicken. Cover or seal, and chill at least 1 hour.

Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Grill over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 6 minutes on each side or until done. Cut into thin slices.

Combine celery and next 3 ingredients; add reserved dressing, tossing to coat.

Place chicken over greens. Top with celery mixture; sprinkle with berries.

Combine celery and next 3 ingredients; add reserved dressing, tossing to coat.

Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 183, Fat 5 g., Protein 21 g., Carbohydrates 14 g., Fiber 3 g., Cholesterol 49 mg., Sodium 127 mg.

Mini Blueberry Cheesecakes

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pint blueberries

24 vanilla wafer cookies

In a food processor pulse cream cheese, sugar, zest and vanilla to combine. Add blueberries and pulse until mixed.

Cut 24 small rounds of waxed paper and fit each into a cup of a 24-cup miniature muffin tin. Divide blueberry mixture among cups, spooning in mixture on top of waxed paper. Gently smooth with an offset spatula or back of a teaspoon. Place 1 vanilla wafer, flat side up, on top of each cup, pressing gently to adhere. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Yields 24, each serving contains; Calories 80, Fat 5 g., Protein 1 g., Carbohydrates 9 g., Fiber 1 g., Cholesterol 10 mg., Sodium 47 mg.

Blueberry Lime Salsa

1 cup fresh blueberries

5 medium strawberries

1/4 red onion

1 teaspoon lime zest

juice of two limes

1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 avocado, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Combine blueberries, strawberries, onion, lime zest, juice and cilantro in a food processor or blender and pulse. The consistency is up to you but I like to leave mine a bit chunky, so I only pulse it about 5-6 times. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired. Scrape salsa into a bowl and fold in chopped avocado. Serve with pita or corn chips, or on top of fish or chicken. Yields 1 ½ cups.

Blueberry Pecan Granola Parfait 

Yogurt

2 cups vanilla fat-free yogurt

2 cups blueberries

Pecan Granola

2 cups regular oats

1/2 cup pecan pieces

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/8 teaspoon salt

Cooking spray

Yogurt;  Spoon 1/4 cup yogurt into each of 4 parfait glasses; top each serving with 1/4 cup blueberries. Top each serving with 1/4 cup Maple-Pecan Granola, 1/4 cup yogurt, and 1/4 cup blueberries.

Pecan Granola;  Preheat oven to 300°.  Combine oats and next 5 ingredients (through salt); spread on a large jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 300° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely.

Glazed Blueberry Scones

2.6 ounces white rice flour (about 1/2 cup)

2.3 ounces brown rice flour (about 1/2 cup)

2.1 ounces sweet white sorghum flour (about 1/2 cup)

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon nonfat buttermilk, divided

1 large egg

1 cup fresh blueberries

White rice flour, for dusting

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

Preheat oven to 400°.

Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, granulated sugar, and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Combine 1/2 cup buttermilk and egg; stir with a whisk. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist. Fold in blueberries (do not overmix dough).

Turn dough out onto a work surface lightly dusted with white rice flour. Pat dough into an 8-inch circle on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; cut dough into 10 wedges, cutting into but not through dough.

Serves 10, each serving contains; Calories 173, Fat 4 g., Protein 3 g., Carbohydrates 31 g., Fiber 12g., Cholesterol 28 mg., Sodium 250 mg.

Blueberry Fluff

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon sugar

3 – 4 kiwifruit, peeled and chopped

In a shallow dish use a potato masher to mash 1 cup of the blueberries. (Or puree berries in a small food processor.) Stir cinnamon into mashed blueberries.

In a chilled medium bowl combine whipping cream and sugar; beat with a rotary beater until cream is very thick. Fold in mashed blueberries.

In six 6- to 7-ounce dessert dishes or glasses layer whipped cream mixture with the remaining 1 cup blueberries and the kiwifruit. Serve immediately or cover and chill for up to 2 hours before serving.