Many of us throw some blueberries on top of our morning cereal or into a fruit salad meant for the neighborhood potluck without realizing how powerful they really are. Small and seemingly insignificant, save for their rich fruity flavor, blueberries offer impressive health benefits and are extremely versatile when it comes to recipes for any occasion.
Calling the blueberry a “little blue dynamo,” the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council tells us that blueberries are rich in anti-oxidants that help reduce the inflammatory process associated with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and age-related cognitive decline. They are high in vitamin C, an immune system booster, and manganese, a contributor to strong bone development. Blueberries are also known to be an excellent source of dietary fiber, always good for heart and cholesterol health.
Because summer is the season for these healthy little fruits, WakeMed Raleigh Campus celebrated the blueberry on Wednesday, June 19, with a Blueberry Festival in our hospital cafeteria, Café 3000. WakeMed Cary Hospital will host a Blueberry Festival in Points West Cafe on Wednesday, June 26.
Blueberry Hill Farm, located in Grover, N.C., sold their blueberries by the pint as well as their blueberry-inspired goodies – juice, jam, jelly, bread, salsa, syrup and dressing.
We would also like to share with you some of our favorite summer blueberry recipes, courtesy of Café 3000 chef Jennifer Leamons, so that you can experience more of what this “little blue dynamo” has to offer. Enjoy!
Blueberry BBQ Sauce
3 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups ketchup
1 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon granulated garlic
2/3 cup yellow mustard
1 chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for one hour and 15 minutes. This sauce is delicious on grilled, bone-in chicken or pork tenderloin.
Blueberry Ginger Popsicles
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 T finely grated ginger
1 T agave nectar
1/4 cup water
6 oz. fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt
Heat blueberries, ginger, water and agave nectar in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat until blueberries pop—about four to five minutes. Mash the blueberries, and pour into a two-cup pitcher. Allow to cool a little. Stir in vanilla yogurt. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for four hours. Makes four popsicles.
Raw Blueberry Apple Crisp
2 Honeycrisp apples, cored and chopped
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup pecan halves
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup hazelnuts
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Put apples and blueberries in a bowl . Drizzle with orange juice; toss until the fruit is coated. In a food processor, combine pecans, hazelnuts, raisins, ginger and cinnamon and pulse just until chopped. Spoon the nut mixture over the apple mixture and toss gently. Serve immediately.