RED, WHITE & BLUEberries for July 4th

In July of 1999 the USDA proclaimed July as National Blueberry Month.  According to an article I found on the Internet by Cynthia Kirkeby (http://www.classbrain.com/artholiday/publish/article_348.shtml), 35 US states produce blueberries and the USA also produces 90% of all the blueberries in the world!

These tiny blue orbs are packed with taste and nutrition. Even the Native Americans knew that. The tea from blueberries is supposed to relax women in childbirth, the leaves can be used as a blood purifier, and the juice is supposedly good for coughs. Moreover, research at Rutgers has shown that, like cranberries,blueberries can be used for urinary tract infections. And they are indicated as being protective against macular degeneration.

In about.com, blueberries are high on the low-carb list if you are counting your carbs. More importantly, blueberries (and all berries: raspberries, blackberries,cranberries) contain anthocyanins, which are phytonutrients in plants that benefit the body. (See my Glossary {www.menupause.info/glossary} for more complete definitions.)

Blueberries are also antioxidants, which are linked to reducing cancer and heart disease. However, Kirkeby notes that blueberries have the highest antioxidant levels of 40 different fruits, vegetable and juices with 1700 International Units of Vitamin E in 3 1/2 oz. (Her info comes from the North American Blueberry Council.)

Livestrong.com says this about blueberries & diabetes: “Blueberries are small fruits, but they contain a lot of power to help you do the big job of managing diabetes. The American Diabetes Association names blueberries as a “diabetes superfood” because blueberries are packed with nutrients, such as fiber and antioxidant vitamins, which provide several key benefits for dealing with diabetes.”

Finally, here is a link to a previous article I wrote about berries with recipes: http://www.menupause.info/archives/672


So often, what is good for us does not taste so great, but berries are the exception. Below are my two easy recipes using red and blue berries with yogurt (dairy or non-dairy). You can use fresh blueberries in season, preferably organic because you can’t peel them. If you buy extra to freeze, Kirkeby writes that the National Blueberry Council recommends not washing before freezing, but wrapping the box in cellophane or a resealable food grade plastic bag with the air pushed out and freeze. (I freeze them on a cookie sheet and then put them in a zip lock.)

Berries with bananas

Instead of specific amounts, I am listing what I used with approximate amounts.  I used regular, plain yogurt, but you can make it vegan with coconut or soy yogurt or use flavored yogurt.

About one cup of yogurt
About 1/2 cup of organic blueberries, washed & drained
About 6 organic strawberries, washed & sliced in 1/2
One banana sliced
Unsweetened dried coconut (about 1/4 cup)

Using a square or rectangular plate, spread yogurt on first. Sprinkle with coconut. Then slice the strawberries and place atone end. Slice the banana in the middle and put the blueberries at the other end. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Will feed 3 to 6 depending on what else is being served.

 

Berries with Cashews

This dish used cashews instead of bananas and raspberries in place of strawberries.

About one cup yogurt
About 1/2 cup organic raspberries, washed
About 1/2 cup organic blueberries, washed & drained
About 1/4 cup unsweetened, dried coconut
About 1/2 cup cashews

Spread yogurt on a rectangular plate. Place raspberries at either end, blueberries in the middle.  Sprinkle the coconut over the fruit & yogurt, then add the cashews in between the berries. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.  Serves 3-6, depending on what else you are serving.

Celebrate the 4th of July with your favorite foods and remember to include berries because of their great nutritional benefits and great taste!

One Response to “RED, WHITE & BLUEberries for July 4th”

  1. Mary-Lou Meyers Says:

    When we went on vacation, either camping or staying at a cabin, we went with pails picking
    blueberries in the swamp or even on the Appalachian Trail. My mother canned blueberries
    after we ate all we could, and ate her delicious pies, but she always gave some to our neighbor,
    who suffered from Diabetes, apparently it was a known fact that blueberries were extremely helpful,
    and as you have discovered for many other ailments as well. There are high bush blueberries
    that are often found in swamps, and low bush blueberries. The darker shade are often known
    as “huckleberries,” the lighter as “blueberries,” but either way very rich in antioxidants.

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