Berries are among my favourite sweet natural foods that I refer to as “nature’s candy”. They are so sweet and colourful and have a soft gentle texture. No doubt you’ve heard that all berries are superfoods …and ranking near the top of the berry superfoods are the blueberries. These little blue powerhouses are potent antioxidants.
Blueberries are nutritional powerhouses because they are among the fruits highest in antioxidant power, largely due to their many phytochemicals. Blueberries provide antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, fibre, an array of phytonutrients and a source of energy.
Blueberries contain powerful phytochemicals called anthocyanins, which give these berries their beautiful blue colour. Anthocyanins are incredibly potent phytochemicals that are known to improve visual acuity, reduce cancer proliferation, inhibit tumour formation, protect against cardiovascular disease, enhance memory, act as an antimicrobial, and aid in the prevention of weight gain (even in the presence of a high fat diet!)
That is just one of the incredible phytonutrients in blueberries. Others include catechins, quercetin, kaempferol, and other flavonoids, ellagitannins, pterostilbene and resveratrol. We’d be here all day if I got into the benefits of all of these phytochemicals, but you get the idea. They are protective against disease and health promoting beyond belief.
It’s no wonder the Native Americans gathered this wild fruit to not only to eat but to use as medicine.
A few notes on blueberries:
- Blueberries are in season from May through October. Wild blueberries are smaller than cultivated, and even higher in antioxidants.
- When researchers measured and compared their antioxidant activity, they found no significant differences between the fresh, dried and frozen berries. Blueberries freeze well, so stock up when you can.
- If you’ve ever baked with blueberries and found the batter turned them a greenish-brown colour, the culprit is probably the baking soda, which is alkaline. Try to adjust the recipe to use baking powder instead or try adding the berries at the very end.
There are plenty of delicious recipes for blueberries, but be sure to enjoy them on their own as well.
For those of you who think I eat kale all day long, the truth is I have a little weakness for baking. The best part though, is that baking need not contain eggs or dairy, and even fat can be substituted with apple sauce or banana. There. Thats not so bad, right? Give it a try. Perfectly 100% guilt free 🙂
Blueberry Poppyseed Coffee Cake
3/4 cup soymilk or other dairy free milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (whole grain)
1/2 cup organic cane sugar or date sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup apple sauce
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon ground flax combined with 3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 cup fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine soymilk and lemon juice in measuring cup. Let stand 5 minutes to sour. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in apple sauce and poppy seeds. Whisk soured soymilk, ground flax / water combo, vanilla and lemon peel in small bowl until blended. Stir soymilk mixture into flour mixture until moistened. spread half of batter into prepared pan. top with blueberries. Drop remaining batter in 8 dollops onto blueberries. Bake 33 to 36 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool 15 minutes in pan on wire rack. Serve warm.
Blueberry Pear Crumble
7 fresh pears, thinly sliced
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon date sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon pinch of nutmeg
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees f. Filling: combine pears and maple syrup in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, covered but stirring occasionally, until the pears are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the pears from the heat and add the sugar, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Transfer the filling into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with the fresh blueberries. Topping: Combine all the topping ingredients and spread over the filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Blueberry Spelt Pancakes
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground flax
1 cup soy milk or other plant based milk
1/4 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons agave or maple syrup
1-2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup blueberries
Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Combine wet ingredients and add to dry. Stir and let batter rest for a few minutes, in order to allow for spelt to absorb liquid. Fold in blueberries. Make pancakes on a non-stick skillet if possible.