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Get a Blueberry Boost

I'm a blueberry lover and every spring my love affair gets a little more serious! Luckily, blueberries are packed with nutrition and I don't have to moderate my affection for them. These colorful fruits top the charts with antioxidants and have been shown to help with brain, eye and vascular health. Antioxidants are compounds that protect cells from free radical damage. Free radicals are highly reactive particles - induced by such things as cigarette smoking, sunlight and excessive exercise - that damage cells throughout the body by triggering oxidative reactions. Not only are blueberries low in calories and high in fiber, they are packed with phytonutrients (plant compounds) that may promote healthy aging. In fact, preliminary studies focused on blueberry consumption have shown improved motor skills and a benefit in age-related short-term memory function. Blueberries may also provide other benefits such as supporting cardiovascular health and a healthy urinary tract. Honestly, I don't even need a health-related reason to eat blueberries. They are just so delicious! But if you need one more, they're a low glycemic fruit, meaning that they raise blood sugar levels at a lower pace. Did I mention that they freeze well so you can enjoy them year-round? While popping them in your mouth on their own is fabulous (although it will turn your fingers blue!), here are some fun ideas for adding blueberry indulgence to other dishes:
  • Add fresh or frozen blueberries to a smoothie.
  • Have a bowl for breakfast, snack, or dessert - plain, or topped with yogurt, granola, a little shaved chocolate, a few chopped roasted nuts or a small dollop of sour cream.
  • Add them to any breakfast cereal; dried blueberries make a great raisin substitute for oatmeal or any cooked cereal.
  • For a memorable blueberry breakfast, try this Blueberry Bake.
  • Try blueberries in a green salad, like this one where they co-star with marcona almonds.
  • Make tabouli or couscous salad and add some blueberries right along with your chopped veggies
  • Turn blueberries into a simple, delicious blueberry pie.
  • Add fresh or frozen blueberries to muffins and pancakes; add dried blueberries to scones, cookies and quick breads. I really love these blueberry spelt muffins.
  • Puree blueberries with blueberry juice and freeze in popsicle molds.
  • Cook blueberries with a little apple or blueberry juice and then use as a sauce for yogurt or ice cream. Here's a good blueberry dessert sauce.
  • For something different, why not try blueberry sauce over grilled chicken, turkey, or pork?
  • Make sure blueberries are part of any fruit salad - great with chopped bananas and peaches.
  • Spread peanut or almond butter on toast. Top with blueberries (press them down slightly to help them stay put).
When shopping for fresh blueberries, choose firm, dry berries that have a subtle, whitish bloom over a uniform blue-black color. The chalky bloom is a sign of freshness, not mold. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator; it's best to eat them within a few days, but you can store them for up to a week. Don't wash them until you are ready to eat. Washing before storing makes them more susceptible to spoiling. Here's a bit more on selecting and storing fresh blueberries from our produce guide. Are you a blueberry lover? Got a favorite blueberry recipe? I'd love to hear!

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Sue S. says …

I am a Michigan resident...a state which provides a vast amount of the country with its blueberry supply. You may not be aware that Michigan permits their blueberry farmers to drain in-land lakes in order to water their blubeery crops. I've seen small in-land lakes, & the animals that used to live in (fish, frogs, turles, birds, muskrats) be completely devasted from the loss of habitat when these farmers, that provide you with your bluberries, drain the lakes....next time you eat a bluberry, you should be aware that it probably resulted in the death of numerous wildlfe species...especially if the berries came from Michigan. Although I used to relish blueberries, seeing first-hand the devastation caused to wildlife in Michigan by these blueberry farmers, I no longer eat them....

Mama Mel says …

I have a yummy recipe for Blueberry Oat Bran Pancakes. They are delicious and nutritious! :) Check it out at: http://mamamelloves1.blogspot.com/2009/06/blueberry-oat-bran-pancakes.html

Jennifer says …

If you like blueberries and want something to beat the heat, then try out this wonderful recipes from Cooking Light. I use all organic ingredients and the nice thing about making your own ice cream is that you can control the sugar. I use a little bit less than what the recipes call for and I also used 1% milk and it still comese out great. http://easyentertainingnow.blogspot.com/

Jody says …

I make this pie every year as soon as blueberry season begins. It's wonderful! Double the recipe and make two....they disappear fast! Fresh Blueberry Cream Pie 1 c Sour cream 2 tb Flour, all-purpose 3/4 c Sugar 1 ts Vanilla extract 1/4 ts Salt 1 Egg; beaten 2 1/2 c Blueberries, fresh 1 Pastry shell, 9”; unbaked 3 tb Flour, all-purpose 3 tb Butter (or marg.); softened 3 tb Pecans or walnuts; chopped Combine first 6 ingredients; beat 5 minutes at medium speed of an electric mixer or until smooth. Fold in blueberries. Pour filling into pastry shell; bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients, stirring well; sprinkle over top of pie. Bake 10 additional minutes. Chill before serving.

Sarah says …

It's not really a recipe, but I do this probably 4-5 times a week- whatever cereal I am eating for breakfast, I break out my bag of frozen blueberries (organic of course!) and dump in about 1/4-1/3 cup in the bottom then fill it up with cereal and milk- DELICIOUS and easy way to get your breakfast fruit!

Pauline Wade RN says …

Our favorite is 365 scone mix with added fresh blueberries.

Sue S. says …

Before eating anymore blueberries I suggest you log onto Nightline.com and read their expose regarding "Child Labor in Blueberry Fields" broadcast on the evening of October 30, 2009.

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Diane says …

Does blueberry juice give the same benefits?