Little Blue Bite Loaded With Nutrition: Fresh Blueberries Are Back!
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Fresh or frozen, blueberries are a favorite spring and summer snack; they also pack a lot of nutritional punch into one little bite. Blueberries are low in calories, but high in fiber, vitamin C and vitamin K. Blueberries are 85% water, provide 14% of your daily fiber, a boost of heart-helping antioxidants and are only 80-84 calories.
The fabulous blueberry has also proven to keep you fresh, active, fit, sharp and in a great mood!!
When you are purchasing fresh blueberries;
- Look for berries with a dark blue color, and a slight powdery look to them.
- Look for firm berries – berries don’t ripen once they’ve been picked. So, keep an eye out for shriveled or soft looking berries
- Don’t wash berries until ready to use.
- Berries will often last in the refrigerator up to over one week, if stored dry.
Freezing blueberries is simple and makes it especially easy to throw into smoothies and other recipes.
Rinse – Before freezing, rinse the blueberries in cold water and allow to dry on the country in a single layer on reusable paper towels.
Freeze – Once your berries are washed and dry, you can flash freeze them on large rimmed baking sheet. I prefer to the put them straight into a freezer bag or freezer safe reusable plastic bags. It’s important to press all the air out to prevent freezer burn.
Store – To save freezer space, lay bags of frozen blueberries flat on their side so they can be easily stacked. Be sure to label and date your containers so you know the shelf life. It’s best to use within 6-9 months of freezing.
Come on out to the Farmer’s Market and get you some fresh local blueberries!
Hope these recipes will find you enjoying blueberries even more!!
Blueberry Peach Feta Salad
- 1 pint fresh blueberries
- 2 fresh peaches, diced
- 2 cucumbers, sliced
- ½ cup crumbled feta
- 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- In a large serving bowl combine the blueberries, peaches, cucumbers, and feta.
- In a jar with a lid or measuring cup combine the lemon juice, Dijon, honey, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. Shake or whisk together the vinaigrette until well combined.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and gently mix everything together. Taste for seasoning and garnish with extra basil. Serve or cover and refrigerate the salad until ready to serve.
- This is also great to serve over a bowl of spinach.
Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 183, Fat 8g., Cholesterol 4g., Carbohydrates 27g., Fiber 4g., Protein 4g.
Keto Blueberry Cake
(For those of you on the Keto track, this is a good one to try)
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup avocado oil or melted butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2½ cups almond flour (plus 2 teaspoons for tossing the blueberries)
- ½ cup sugar-free granulated sweetener
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line an 8-inch springform pan (or regular round cake pan) with parchment paper and grease the sides with a little olive oil or butter to ensure the cake comes out easily after baking.
- Whisk together the eggs, melted butter (or avocado oil), vanilla extract, almond extract, and lemon juice together in a large mixing bowl until creamy and well combined.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix well until a thick cake batter forms and everything is well-combined. Note: the batter will be very thick!
- Toss the blueberries with 2 teaspoons of almond flour. This ensures the blueberries won’t all sink to the bottom of the cake during the baking process and keep them evenly distributed. Gently stir the blueberries into the cake batter until they are incorporated into the batter.
- Transfer the cake batter to the prepared spring form cake pan and spread it into an even layer. If you’d like, decorate the top of the cake with additional blueberries.
- Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then remove the cake from the oven, cover it with foil, and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the cake tests clean.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before releasing it from the mold and slicing.
Serves 8. Each serving contains Calories 361, Fat 31g., Carbohydrates 10g., Fiber 5g., Protein 12g.
Blueberry Yogurt Clusters
- 2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
- 1 cup Greek yogurt, up to you on the flavor or none at all
- 10 ounces dark chocolate
- Sea salt for topping
- Honey, optional
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl combine the 2 cups of blueberries with the Greek yogurt and mix well to coat all of the blueberries in the yogurt. Add one tablespoon of honey if needed for plain Greek yogurt.
- Use a spoon or cookie scoop to place small clusters of the yogurt-blueberry mixture onto the lined baking sheet. Place them about 2 inches apart so they are not touching. I created 6-8 clusters which were the perfect size.
- Place the baking sheet with the yogurt clusters on it into the freezer for 20-25 minutes, until they are frozen solid.
- In a microwave-safe bowl melt the chocolate in 30-second intervals until it is mostly melted then remove and stir to melt the rest of the chocolate until silky and smooth. Let the chocolate rest for 5 minutes.
- Remove the yogurt clusters from the freezer and carefully dip each one into the melted chocolate using a spoon or fork to help coat each one, then place them back onto the lined baking sheet. Continue until you have coated all of the clusters. Top with a pinch of sea salt, if desired.
- Let them sit until the chocolate hardens and enjoy!
Serves 8. Each serving contains Calories 141, Fat 5g., Carbohydrates 22g., Fiber 11g., Protein 5g.
Grilled Bone in Pork Chops with Blueberry Balsamic BBQ Sauce
For the Rub
- 1½ tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1¼ teaspoons black pepper
- 6 double-cut pork chops, bone in, cut 1 ½ – 2 inches thick
For the Blueberry Balsamic BBQ Sauce
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red onion, minced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 cups fresh blueberries
- ¾ cups balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1½ teaspoons dried thyme
For the Rub
- In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt, the garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of the black pepper.
- Rub can be stored in a mason jar on the countertop for up to a year or use immediately.
- Apply the Rub – Rub can be applied 30 minutes or 24 hours prior to cooking.
- Preheat your grill to medium-high.
- On a parchment paper or foil-lined sheet pan, arrange the pork chops in a single layer.
- Sprinkle a generous pinch of the spice rubs onto each side of the chops. Be sure to rub the seasoning into the chops with your fingers. Discard any remaining spice rub*.
- Put the sheet pan of pork chops in the refrigerator to absorb the seasoning while you preheat your grill.
For the BBQ Sauce
- In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer in the pan, add the red onion and garlic.
- Sauté these until they are glossy and fragrant or about 3 minutes. The aromatics should take on a bit of color, however, if they start to brown too much, lower the temperature.
- Add 2 cups of the fresh blueberries to the pot. Stir to toss the berries into the sautéed aromatics.
After 3 minutes the blueberries should start popping. Continue to cook the blueberry mixture, stirring frequently, for a few minutes longer to give the berries time to soften.
- After 1-2 minutes, add the balsamic vinegar to the pot, followed by the tomato paste, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, chili powder, and the remaining salt and pepper.
- Bring this mixture up to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer and reduce for 7-8 minutes.
- While the sauce is reducing, use the back of your spoon to smash some of the whole berries. If some of the blueberries are left whole, it’s fine, but try to smash the majority of them.
- Once the sauce has reduced by half, add the thyme. Continue simmering until you have two cups of sauce remaining in the pot- stirring and squishing berries as the sauce cooks- or for 7 minutes more.
- Remove the sauce from the heat. Transfer a third of the sauce to a bowl for brushing on the grilled chops. Leave the remainder of the sauce in the pot for reheating later with the remaining blueberries.
- Remove the pork chops from the fridge and allow them to warm up a bit at room temperature.
For Grilling and the Glaze
- Pat the surface of your pork chops with a paper towel to dry them. This will help you achieve a nice sear on the surface.
- Place your chops onto the grill on the high-heat/direct-cooking side. Grill the chops for 4-5 minutes before flipping them over. The meat should be crisp and caramelized.
Flip the chops, then use a silicone grill to brush the seared side with the Blueberry-Balsamic BBQ Sauce. Grill the chops on the second side for 4 more minutes.
- Flip the chops one last time. Brush sauce onto the second side, then move them to the indirect-heat side of the grill.
- Cook the chops, with the cover closed for five minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees.
- Transfer the chops to a clean sheet pan or platter and allow them to rest for at least five minutes- under a tented piece of foil- before serving.
- While the meat is resting, stir the reserved blueberries into the finished sauce and reheat it over a low flame- just until it’s warmed through and steaming.
- Once heated through, transfer the blueberry balsamic BBQ sauce to a serving bowl. Spoon more of the Blueberry Balsamic BBQ Sauce over the rested chops. Serve while hot. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Serves 8. Each serving contains Calories 385, Fat 12g., Carbohydrates 37g., Fiber 4g., Protein 31g.