Well, now is the time for blueberries. They peak in late summer. Blueberries are one of the most potent sources of antioxidants, which help counteract heart disease, cancers, and other types of illnesses. In fact, of 43 fruits and vegetables tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1997, blueberries ranked number one in antioxidants. Blueberries are also full of fiber and high in vitamin C. Store them-in a single layer, in a moisture-proof container for up to five days, and don’t wash until you’re ready to use them.
There are two types of blueberries. Cultivated, or high-bush, blueberries are what you see in the grocery store. They are grown on tree-sized shrubs all over the country. Wild, or low-bush, berries grow on sprawling, ankle-high shrubs. These berries are about one-third the size of the cultivated ones. Most recipes call for fresh or frozen blueberries. You can also substitute an equal amount of fresh grocery-store berries. If using frozen blueberries, you can often toss them in without thawing. But in baked recipes, frozen berries will often discolor the batter, and fresh will not. While frozen blueberries work well in many recipes, there are times when only fresh will do. For example, when eating with cold cereal, tossing into fruit salad, or incorporating in pies, turn to fresh blueberries, whose texture and moisture content are ideal.
Anthocyanins, which give the blueberry its beautiful blue hue, are phytochemicals, which are thought to combat the free-radical damage linked to cancer and heart disease. A 1999 study by Tufts University researchers published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that the phytochemicals in blueberries might also counteract the effects of aging, including waning brainpower. Maine produces 98 percent of this country’s wild blueberries-the most in the world, in fact. The bushes love the state’s acidic glacial soil.
Blueberries are great frozen. They freeze well because they have very low water content. I love frozen blueberries right out of the bag, piled on waffles, mixed into hot oatmeal, in muffins or added to a smoothie for a dark, rich berry flavor and color. Here is a delicious recipe that you can make the kids for an after school snack or dessert.
½ cup fresh or frozen organic blueberries
½ cup Fat free Vanilla Mountain High Yogurt
½ cup of My delicious Granola
2 tsp honey
Layer yogurt, granola and blueberries in a glass serving dish or bowl.
Repeat until all ingredients are used up. Sprinkle with honey.