We’re looking at what we want to plant in our garden and I’m thinking blueberries!
Did you know…
- Blueberries have more antioxidants than any other fresh fruit or veggie.
- Blueberries have been shown to slow vision loss and can lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration by up to 36%
- Not only are they low in calories but they can break down belly fat and reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome (risk factors that increase chances of developing diabetes and heart disease).
- They’re high in manganese which is important for bone development
- They’re high in fiber
- Blueberries can reduce and even reverse age-related memory loss
- The phenolic compounds can inhibit colon cancer and reduce ovarian cancer risks
- Blueberries have a low-glycemic index and can help type 2 diabetics manage and reduce blood sugar
- Blueberries, like cranberries, contain compounds that prevent bacteria from adhering to bladder walls, preventing urinary tract infections
- Oh and they taste amazing!
There’s so many ways to love blueberries… pancakes, muffins, waffles… and a few others that I’m going to list here that I think you’ll enjoy.
When I was little, my mom would get blueberries and toss them with raw honey and let them sit overnight. The honey would breakdown into a syrup. She’d put them into a bowl by themselves or over a slice of pound cake and top them with a spoonful of sour cream. It was her favorite dessert!
Blueberry Chai Ice Cream (Dairy Free)
- 1 (14oz) can coconut milk
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 2 chai tea bags, tea removed from tea bag (discard bag)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Place all ingredients in a saucepan and place under medium heat. Let cook down and flavors mix for about 10 minutes under some of your blueberries have exploded and you have a deep purple color.
- Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes.
- Place mixture in a food processor or blender and puree until blueberries are broken down.
- Pour mixture into ice cream maker
- Scoop, eat & enjoy!
A few years ago I discovered my new favorite… a crisp iceberg salad with grilled chicken, hard boiled eggs, blueberries and ranch dressing. I’d top it then with french fried onions. Yum!
Monte Cristo Sandwiches
This is one of my absolute favorites. I was introduced to these when I was about 7 months pregnant and it was locked into mine and my daughter’s DNA after that. These are easy and amazingly delicious, perfect for breakfast, lunch, brunch, whatever!
- The bread is simply French Toast. Use your favorite bread, eggs, milk & vanilla.
- Swiss Cheese
- Sliced ham (I prefer a Virginia ham or Black Forest, use what you like!)
- Powdered/Confectioners Sugar (optional)
- Blueberry compote
- Sour cream
- Dip the bread in the egg mixture, and fry.
- When you flip the bread over in the pan, add a slice of swiss and the ham on to one slice of the French toast.
- When they are properly browned, add a second slice of French toast on top of the first slice to complete the sandwich.
- Cut in half and dust with powdered sugar if desired.
- Serve with warmed blueberry compote* and sour cream.
Compote is another name for pie filling. You can buy canned, but fresh is so much tastier and so easy to make.
Blueberry Compote & Pie Filling
In a saucepan combine:
- 1-1/2 cups of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1/3 c water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
Simmer over medium heat about 10 minutes till berries burst. Then add:
- 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Simmer an additional 7-8 minutes until compote coats the back of a spoon.
Can be made up to 3 days in advance, serve warm. Cover and refrigerate to store or portion in ice cube trays and freeze. Serve with Monte Cristo sandwiches, cheese filled crepes, ice cream, pancakes, waffles, yogurt & granola, you name it!
Other blueberry tips:
- Freeze blueberries and put them in your glass of white wine to keep it chilled!
- When making muffins, toss blueberries in a little flour to keep them from sinking in the batter while they bake.
- When using frozen blueberries in a baking recipe, do not let them thaw or the juice will “bleed” into your batter.
I’ll follow up with more blueberry recipes later (I’m thinking cheesecake and those crepes in particular), but this should be enough to get your creative “juices” flowing.