The heat and light may be slowly fading, but the blueberry harvest of late summer heralds one of the sweetest times of the year in James Bay.
The blueberry – the delightful and delicious little fruit that has often been dubbed a “super food” because of its high disease-fighting antioxidant content, among other major health benefits – makes for an excellent dietary choice any day of the week.
According to the book, SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life, by nutritional experts Steven Pratt, M.D. and Kathy Matthews, blueberries contain more antioxidants than most other fruits and vegetables.
And, once that incredible yield of wild blueberries is harvested, the question becomes what to do with all of them, as there are countless ways of preparing these luscious berries. Unfortunately, many of the recipes are very high in fat or sugar.
On the lookout for sumptuous yet healthy blueberry dishes, the Nation tested two recipes that turned out wonderfully and combined this super-fruit with healthy grains and nuts to make for some all-out winners from your kitchen.
The book suggested a Berry Crisp with Nuts and Oatmeal Topping as the perfect desert recipe. So we gave it a whirl in our “test kitchen” and found it to be a hit with one modification.
Here’s the recipe:
1/3 cup of chopped almonds
1/3 cup of chopped pecans
1/3 cup of chopped walnuts
1 cup of quick-cooking or regular rolled oats
3-4 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons of wheat germ
2 tablespoons of whole-wheat pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
4 cups of berries of your choosing (we only did blueberries)
2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest (we found this overpowering, so reduce to maybe half)
Vanilla yoghurt for topping (we suggest Greek)
Preheat oven to 325°F
To prepare the crisp, spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 5-8 minutes, checking frequently as they can burn easily. Stir once or twice during roasting for evenness. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Add the oats, syrup, wheat germ, flour cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
For the filling, slice the berries if you are using strawberries in addition to your blueberries so that everything is a uniform size. Toss with syrup, spice and zest and then spread the fruit into an 8- or 9-inch pie plate or a square baking dish. Top with crisp and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the fruit is tender, bubbling around the edges and the crisp is lightly browned. Top with a dollop of yoghurt.
This recipe turned out to be a healthy, filling and flavourful low-fat treat.
If you are looking for a tasty muffin that will please kids and adults alike, look no further than this perfectly balanced creation by the Food Network’s healthy-done-delicious gurus, Janet and Greta Podleski.
The Looneyspoons Collection: Bananaberry Bombs
Moist banana-blueberry muffins with oats and flaxseed
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup each all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large or 4 small)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
(we also added 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside. Combine oats, flours, sugar, ground flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Mix well and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together bananas, butter and egg. Add banana mixture to dry ingredients and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Gently fold in blueberries.
Divide batter among 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
This recipe was outrageously good, sweet and lively without sacrificing any taste. I highly recommend it.