Health benefits of blueberries

We know all about the health benefits of blueberries, often called nutritional powerhouses. They are high in vitamin C and fibers, have lots of antioxidants, and are low in calories.  Antioxidants fight the free radicals that damage cellular structures and DNA.  Blueberries have a low glycemic index (a measurement of the potential impact on our blood sugar level).  Several recent studies have shown that blueberry consumption can even improve memory.

You haven’t tasted real blueberries until you’ve tried the wild blueberries from Maine and Canada.  They are just coming into season and they are available in New England as fresh berries, or year round frozen in supermarkets.  Wild blueberries contain about 71 calories in a cup, contain manganese (good for bone development), fiber, and are low in fat and high in antioxidants.

What are the differences between cultivated blueberries and wild blueberries?  Size is the most obvious.  Wild blueberries are much smaller, less than half the size of cultivated blueberries. This means that more than twice the amount of wild blueberry skin is in a cup than cultivated blueberries.  This translates to more health benefits since several antioxidants in blueberries are found in the skin.  Wild blueberries have a more intense, and I think more delicious, flavor.   They freeze very well, and they hold their shape when used in baking.

Tests have shown that wild blueberries are the leading antioxidant fruit, helping our bodies fight cancer, heart disease, short term memory loss and other effects of aging.

Blueberries rank second, behind strawberries in popularity among berries. All you need is ½ cup (one serving) a day.

Cooking with wild blueberries is easy.  Make blueberry muffins, blueberry crisp, add blueberries to your cereal or smoothies, or bake the ever-popular blueberry pie.

For a great blueberry smoothie recipe go to www.foodnetwork.com.

Wild Blueberry Crisp

Ingredients

  • 5 cups Wild Blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 cup (2 medium) diced peeled apples
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons butter or soft margarine
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a small bowl, combine the Wild Blueberries, sugar, lemon rind, and apples. Mix well and place in a well-buttered 8x8x2” pan.

In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, pecans, oats, salt and rub in the butter with your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs. Spread evenly over the Wild Blueberry filling. Bake 45 minutes or until the crust is brown. Wild Blueberry Crisp serves 6.

Recipe from www.wildblueberries.com

Want to save some for the winter? Freeze them.