I just added a P.S. to the Home Page because I forgot to say that July is National Blueberry Month. I went online and found two very interesting article on blueberries, excerpts of which are at the end of the recipes. For many years I have been aware that blueberries are good for you as well as tasting good. Here are three easy recipes using blueberries as well as other fruits or veggies. I plan to make one or two of them at my Awesome Rawsome class on July 13th at The Wellness Community.
Three Fruit Salad
Utensils: Strainer, knife & cutting board
Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: None
¼ c. organic raspberries
¼ c. organic blueberries
one small kiwi, peeled and cut into small pieces
coconut milk, yogurt, cashew “sour cream”* or applesauce
Wash berries well and drain (Organic berries are best because removing pesticide sprays from berries is difficult.) Toss berries with kiwi and top with yogurt, coconut milk (thick like cream) or applesauce. Enjoy!
*Cashew Sour Cream – In January, I reviewed The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick Goudreau, published by Trade Winds, and promised to post Cashew Sour Cream in the future. Here it is now:
1 1/2 c. raw cashews
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1/2- 3/4 cup water
salt, to taste
In a blender, combine, cashews, lemon juice and 1/2 c. of the water. Blend on low speed, gradually turning speed to maximum. While the machine is running, gradually add more water to keep the ingredients from sinking to the bottom of the blender and until desired consistency is reached. Continue blending until the mixture is mixture is smooth and the consistency of whipped cream. Add salt to taste. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 days. If it becomes to thick, simply thin it out with some water. Yield: 1 cup.
Note: I make a similar plain cashew cream by soaking cashews in hot water for several hours, draining, and pureeing with cold water, adding vanilla or almond extract for added flavor for desserts.
B & B Smoothie
Utensils: Strainer, knife & cutting board
Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: None
1 frozen, peeled banana, sliced
1 c. organic blueberries (can also be frozen)
2 cup liquid (juice, rice milk, coconut milk, skim milk, etc.)
one scoop whey protein powder (optional)
Wash berries well. Place all in blender and blend until smooth. Yield: 2+ glasses.
Berry Green Smoothie
The idea of mixing fruit with different greens is based on books by Victoria Bosenko. See the review I did on Green for Life in the April 26th posting. Feel free to click on that date in the address box below the archives to reread it. More of her books this summer.
Utensils: Knife & cutting board, blender or food processor
Prep. Time: Under 10 minutes
Cooking Time: None!
1 c. cold water or juice
2-4 leaves of lettuce, dandelion greens, kale or other green leafy food
½ – ¾ c. organic blueberries, washed (These can be frozen)
4-6 organic, ripe strawberries, stems removed and sliced
Puree everything in the blender until smooth. Bits if berries may still show up in the glass.
Yield: 2 glasses
(Feel free to add some fresh mint leaves.)
July - National Blueberry Month
By Cynthia Kirkeby
Blueberry History in the United States
The US Dept. of Agriculture proclaimed July National Blueberry Month on May 8th, 1999. Blueberries are grown in 35 states in the US, and the United States produces over 90% of all of the blueberries in the world. According to Ark-LA-Tex, the Native Americans taught the pilgrims to use blueberries in many ways.
Blueberries And Your Health
The Native Americans also believed that these little blue berries were good for your health. Blueberry tea is supposed to help relax women during childbirth, leaves from the blueberry bush were used to make a blood purifier that was good for the kidneys, and blueberry juice was supposed to be good for coughs.
Modern medicine also identifies the health benefits of blueberries. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the Rutgers Blueberry Cranberry Research Center in Chatsworth, N.J. found that blueberries help prevent infections in the urinary tract in much the same way that cranberries do. They may also help to prevent macular degeneration according to Ronald L. Prior, Ph.D., director of the USDA.
Did you know that eating blueberries could also be one of the keys to living to a ripe old age? Well, if you take a look at the research, foods that are rich in antioxidants* are supposed to help reduce your chance of getting cancer and heart disease, and blueberries are loaded with them. Out of 40 different fruits, juices and vegetables, the blueberry comes in with the highest antioxidant level, according to the North American Blueberry Council. Just three and a half ounces of blueberries are equivalent to over 1700 International Units of vitamin E.
*See Glossary for definition.
According to the North American Blueberry Council, you should not wash your blueberries before you freeze them. If you buy the berries in a pint box, simply wrap the box tightly in cellophane to make it airtight, or slip it into a resealable plastic bag (squeeze out as much air as possible). Then freeze. If you buy the berries in bulk, freeze them on a cookie sheet first and then transfer them into a freezer container. Keep frozen until ready to use.
The article below has more nutritional facts than the one above, but both are good so I included both. Read at your leisure.
Blueberries from www.whfoods.com
With flavors that range from mildly sweet to tart and tangy, blueberries are nutritional stars bursting with nutrition and flavor while being very low in calories. Blueberries are at their best from May through October when they are in season.
Blueberries are the fruits of a shrub that belong to the heath family, which includes the cranberry and bilberry as well as the azalea, mountain laurel and rhododendron. Blueberries grow in clusters and range in size from that of a small pea to a marble. They are deep in color, ranging from blue to maroon to purple-black, and feature a white-gray waxy “bloom” that covers the surface serving as a protective coat. The skin surrounds a semi-transparent flesh that encases tiny seeds.
Blueberries are literally bursting with nutrients and flavor, yet very low in calories. Recently, researchers at Tufts University analyzed 60 fruits and vegetables for their antioxidant capability. Blueberries came out on top, rating highest in their capacity to destroy free radicals.
An Antioxidant Powerhouse
Packed with antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanidins, blueberries neutralize free radical damage to the collagen matrix of cells and tissues that can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, heart disease and cancer. Anthocyanins, the blue-red pigments found in blueberries, improve the integrity of support structures in the veins and entire vascular system. Anthocyanins have been shown to enhance the effects of vitamin C, improve capillary integrity, and stabilize the collagen matrix (the ground substance of all body tissues). They work their protective magic by preventing free-radical damage, inhibiting enzymes from cleaving the collagen matrix, and directly cross-linking with collagen fibers to form a more stable collagen matrix.
While wine, particularly red wine, is touted as cardioprotective since it is a good source of antioxidant anthocyanins, a recent study found that blueberries deliver 38% more of these free radical fighters. In this study, published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, researchers found that a moderate drink (about 4 ounces) of white wine contained .47 mmol of free radical absorbing antioxidants, red wine provided 2.04 mmol, and a wine made from high bush blueberries delivered 2.42 mmol of these protective plant compounds.
A Visionary Fruit
Extracts of bilberry (a cousin of blueberry) have been shown in numerous studies to improve nighttime visual acuity and promote quicker adjustment to darkness and faster restoration of visual acuity after exposure to glare. This research was conducted to evaluate claims of bilberry’s beneficial effects on night vision made by British Air Force pilots during World War II who regularly consumed bilberry preserves before their night missions.
P.S. Blueberries are in season all summer, so buy them, eat them for breakfast, as a snack (frozen!), and in smoothies. Please buy organic or unsprayed whenever possible, since you can’t peel them and removing the sprays from these babies isn’t easy.