“The Healthy Gourmet”
August 5, 2010
Blueberries — A very dear friend recently proved just how great a friend she really is when she presented me with a ½ gallon zip bag almost full of blueberries she picked herself. She got up early one Saturday morning (supposedly to beat the heat but we all know how that turned out……) and picked blueberries for about 3 or 4 hours. Now THAT is a true friend, to share all that goodness that she worked so hard to get!
I ate a lot of my blueberries but because I was going out of town I could not use them all up. Not to worry – blueberries freeze beautifully. Just pick out any berries that may be getting mushy or don’t look like you would pop them in your mouth, make sure the berries are dry, place them in a freezer zipper bag (or in smaller serving size bags and then place all the small bags in a larger bag to prevent any freezer burn), be sure to release ALL the air out of any bag, and freeze them. They will keep for a month or 2 and just need to stand for about 30 minutes to thaw.
Ok, so what did I do with the blueberries I did eat before I went out of town? Well, admittedly a lot were eaten straight from the bag while standing at the kitchen sink wondering what better way to consume blueberries. Frankly, the answer was that there is no better way to eat fresh blueberries!!! But here are a few ideas for you to enjoy these wonderful fruits that have only 80 calories per cup, almost 25% of the daily requirement for Vitamin C, about 15% of the daily recommendation for fiber intake, a high amount of antioxidants, and are packed full of yummy flavor!
Blueberry Vinaigrette 4 servings
1 c blueberries
½ c olive oil
½ c white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
1 T honey
1 T chopped fresh tarragon (or ~1/2 t dried)
½ t salt
¼ t pepper
1 medium shallot (or 2 green onions), minced
1 t minced garlic
Mixed salad greens
12 endive “spears” or leaves
Extra blueberries for garnish
Combine the first 7 ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well. Add shallot and garlic to dressing and mix. Place salad greens on plates or bowls, toss with dressing, and add 3 endive leaves to each plate, garnish with blueberries.
Blueberry Chicken Salad Serves 4
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast (note: this is better with flavorful chicken, like marinated and then broiled or grilled — just make sure it does not dry out — or a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 (6 ounce) container lemon yogurt
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bibb lettuce leaves
Set aside a few blueberries for garnish. In a large bowl, gently combine the chicken, celery, red pepper, onions and remaining blueberries. Combine the yogurt, mayonnaise and salt; drizzle over chicken mixture and gently toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve on lettuce-lined plates if desired. Top with reserved blueberries
Blueberry Salsa About 3 cups
2 cups chopped fresh blueberries
1 cup whole fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 fresh lime, juiced
Salt to taste
In a bowl, combine chopped and whole blueberries, jalepeno pepper, onion, red pepper, lime juice, and salt. Serve with chips.
Note: this is great with pork and may also be used as an appetizer on cream cheese with crackers.