Blueberries Kick Off Magnificient 7 SuperFoods Series


Photo: Unsplash, Lior Mazliah

Photo: Unsplash, Lior Mazliah

Superfoods are hot. These nutritional powerhouses from blueberries and kale to seagreens and gogi berries are revered by foodies and anyone who is health conscious. Although dietitians may crinkle their noses at the crown these foods carry since the science behind them is not conclusive, those seeking the fountain of youth or just better health and marketers are heralding this food group.

What elevates a food to the superfood list? They are rich in antioxidants, fiber or fatty acids, packed with vitamins and minerals and believed to help or prevent cancer and other diseases. They are supposed to give you more energy and help keep cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check. They are just “super.”

There is not an Academy Awards ceremony to award the best foods each year, but trends seem to point to the ones shared in the Healthy Aging series called, “The Magnificent 7.”

Blueberries, King of the Hill

Blueberries are at the top of the superfood list with their high antioxidant and vitamin content. They are low in fat, high in vitamin C and low in calorie. One cup has 80 calories.

According to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, the trade association for growers, “blueberries have consistently been recognized as the fruit with the highest antioxidant activity. These tasty berries offer twice as many health-giving antioxidants as spinach, more than three times as many as oranges, red grapes and cherries and more than four times as many as grapefruit, white grapes, bananas and apples.”

The council’s Blueberry Sorbet is easy to make and perfect for a light nutritious ending to a meal or a snack.

Chilled Blueberry Soup is another creative dish with blueberries and is shared by Naturipe®, a farmer-owned producer of healthy, good-for-you fresh berries grown by working family farmers.

More blueberry and other superfruit recipes can be found in holistic nutritionist and author Stephanie Pedersen’s book, Berries: The Complete Guide to Cooking with Power-Packed Berries. This book is a complete guide to powerfruits like blueberries with information on buying, storing, nutritional benefits and fun facts. One of her 75 recipes is Whole Berry Gelatin.

blueberry sorbetBlueberry Sorbet

Makes about 5 cups

4 cups fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
1 can (6 ounces) frozen apple juice concentrate

In the container of a food processor or blender, combine blueberries and apple juice concentrate. Whirl until liquefied. Pour into an 11 by 7-inch baking pan. Cover and freeze until firm around the edges, about 2 hours.

With a heavy spoon, break frozen mixture into pieces. Place mixture into a processor or blender container. Whirl until smooth but not completely melted. Spoon into a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. Cover and freeze until firm. Serve within a few days.

Recipe courtesy of Blueberry Council.

blueberry soup

Grilled salmon fish filet, asparagus, water with lemon slice. Photo courtesy of Naturipe Farms

Chilled Blueberry Soup

Makes 4 servings

2 cups fresh Naturipe® blueberries (2, 6-ounce containers)
1 cup 100% apple juice
1½ cups plain low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Rinse blueberries and set aside a few for garnishing; blend all ingredients in food processor or blender. Serve immediately. Garnish with mint leaves and blueberries, if desired.

Rinse blueberries and set aside a few for garnishing; blend all ingredients in food processor or blender. Serve immediately. Garnish with mint leaves and blueberries, if desired.

Reprinted with permission from Naturipe Farms LLC

Whole Berry Gelatin

Makes 9 servings

1 cup whole berries (You can use one type or a mix)
¼ cup cold water
2 tablespoons (2 pouches/envelopes) natural gelatin
¼ cup hot water (near boiling)(1 lemon)
1⅓ cups unsweetened berry juice

Arrange the cut fruit or berries on the bottom of an 8-inch (20-cm) square heatproof glass pan, or something similar in size.

In a medium bowl, pour in the cold water. Sprinkle the powdered gelatin evenly over the water and soften for about eight minutes.

Whisk in the hot water until the gelatin is dissolved and fully incorporated.

Quickly whisk in the juice.

Gently, so as not to disrupt the berries, pour the mixture over the fruit. Cover the pan and chill for three hours or until the gelatin is fully set.

Cut into nine squares.

Reprinted with permission from Berries: The Complete Guide to Cooking with Power-Packed Berries by Stephanie Pedersen, published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
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