Food of the Week: Blueberries

Blueberries are one of the foods most commonly touted for their health benefits. Variously labeled “superfruit,” “superfood,” and “power food,” blueberries really are incredibly healthy, but it’s not as though eating truckloads of them will make diabetes magically vanish, or eliminate the risk of cancer. I also think their reputation as a health food takes away a little of their fun. I remember reading “Blueberries for Sal” when I was a kid and wanting a blueberry-picking pail of my own.

One cup of raw blueberries contains about 85 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and about 25 percent of the daily value of vitamin C. Blueberries are also an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake
A standby in my repertoire.

1 egg
- c. milk
 c. plain yogurt
3 T. butter, melted
 c. oat flour
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
 c. sugar
4 t. baking powder
 t. salt
1  c. fresh or frozen blueberries
3 T. sugar or brown sugar
 t. cinnamon
2 T. chopped walnuts (opt.)

Heat oven to 400° and grease an 8– or 9-in. square baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the first four ingredients (start with  c. of milk). In a separate bowl, mix the flours,  c. sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the liquid mixture just until blended. Fold in the blueberries, and add more milk if necessary. Transfer the batter to the pan. Mix together the remaining sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts, and sprinkle over the batter. Bake 20–25 minutes.

Blueberry Grapefruit Salsa
I’m quite keen on fruit salsas right now. From

 large pink grapefruit, peeled and membranes removed
1 c. blueberries
2 T. minced red onion
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1 T. lime juice
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 t. honey

Dice grapefruit and blueberries and transfer to a large bowl. Mix in the onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, and honey.

Blueberry Barbecue Sauce
More blueberry taste than barbecue taste, but good with chicken breasts or thighs and pork loin or chops. From Fitness magazine.

2 c. blueberries
1 T. plus 1 t. rice vinegar
3 T. ketchup
1 T. brown sugar
2 t. molasses
1/8 t. allspice
1/8 t. cayenne pepper

Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until sauce is thick.

Cornmeal Pancakes
These hearty pancakes serve about three people, depending on how hungry you are.

 c. yellow cornmeal
 c. boiling water
3 T. butter, melted
1/3–2/3 c. milk
1 egg
 c. whole wheat pastry flour
2 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
 t. salt
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

Put the cornmeal in a medium bowl, pour the boiling water over it, stir thoroughly, and let sit 15 minutes. Stir in the melted butter to loosen the mixture. Beat the egg into 1/3 c. milk and stir into the cornmeal, combining well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add to the cornmeal mixture and combine in a few strokes. Let sit for 10–15 minutes, then stir in the blueberries. Add milk as needed to thin the texture to the desired consistency. Cook on a griddle or in a frying pan.

Note: Pancakes will probably take longer than usual to set before flipping.

Berry Crisp
My dad’s favorite version of crisp.

1/3 c. honey
 c. canola or vegetable oil
2 c. quick oats
 c. whole grain flour
 c. chopped pecans or other nuts
2 T. cornstarch
1 can (12 oz.) frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 t. lemon juice
3 c. halved fresh strawberries
2 c. fresh blueberries
1 c. fresh raspberries or blackberries

Heat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, mix together the honey and oil. Stir in the oats, flour, and pecans and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and  c. apple juice concentrate until smooth. In a saucepan, combine the lemon juice and remaining concentrate, gradually whisking in the cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil, cooking and stirring 1–2 minutes or until thickened. Combine the berries in a greased baking dish, top with the apple juice mixture, and sprinkle with the oat mixture. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown.  

Grilled Peaches
and Blueberries
4 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
 c. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
 t. nutmeg
 pint blueberries
1 t. vanilla
Fresh mint and cream (opt.)

Have a hot grill or campfire ready. Cut aluminum foil into four 8x12-in. pieces. Place two peach halves on each piece, cut side up. Sprinkle the brown sugar, then the spices, blueberries, and vanilla, evenly over the peaches. Fold the foil up and around the fruit, and close it to form a pouch. Grill over medium-high heat 10–12 minutes, turning every few minutes. Open carefully when done and garnish with mint and cream, if desired.

Baked Blueberry
and Banana Oatmeal
An easy alternative to pancakes, waffles, and egg dishes.

2 medium ripe bananas, sliced
1  c. blueberries, fresh or frozen
 c. honey or agave nectar
1 c. uncooked regular or quick oats
 c. chopped nuts (opt.)
 t. baking powder
 t. cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 c. milk
1 egg
1 t. vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 375° and grease an 8– or 9-in. baking dish. Arrange the banana slices in a single layer on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle half the blueberries,  t. cinnamon, and 1 T. honey over the bananas. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine the oats, half the nuts, baking powder,  t. cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining honey, milk, egg, and vanilla.
3. Pour the oat mixture over the cooked fruit, then pour the milk mixture evenly over the top. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries and nuts on top, and bake about 30 minutes, until the oatmeal has set and is golden brown.