Maine Dish: Wild About Blueberries

Of all our fruits, the Maine wild blueberry is a true-blue American and a star.

Native Americans used blueberries to flavor soups and stews, prepared venison and game by pounding them into dried meat cakes, and valued them for medicinal purposes. Blueberries were so important to their survival that they believed the Great Spirit sent the “star berries” to preserve them in times of scarcity.

Today, nutrition research agrees, and the blueberry is highly regarded as a super food that lowers the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, senility, cancer and degenerative eye diseases such as cataracts. Blueberries are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber, and they work to relieve both diarrhea and constipation. They play a key role in urinary tract health. Best of all, blueberries are also regarded as an anti-aging food.

We buy 10-pound boxes of wild blueberries and store them in the freezer. The recommended daily serving of one cup of blueberries supplies nearly a third of the recommended vitamin C requirement, fiber, folate, vitamin E, iron and a wealth of trace minerals for only 85 calories.

Frozen blueberries defrost quite quickly … in the time in takes to make a pot of oatmeal. We sprinkle them on cereal, and add them to muffins, pancakes and waffles. A super easy way to enjoy frozen blueberries is in a smoothie or cold soup. Blueberries sprinkled in spinach and cheese salads, wild blueberry jam spread on toast, blueberry juice, so many ways to eat a delicious, nutritious, low-calorie food that contributes to your health.

Cheryl Wixson lives and cooks in Stonington. She welcomes food-related questions and comments at [email protected].

Wild Blueberry Parfaits

Makes 6 servings

This delicious, smooth dessert packs a whopping 9 grams of protein and is just 129 calories. Best of all, it takes only about 10 minutes to prepare!

1 16-oz. container fat-free cottage cheese

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

12 vanilla wafer cookies, crushed fine

¾ cup Maine wild blueberries, defrosted

Using your food processor, pulse the cookies until they are fine crumbs. Or put the cookies in a plastic bag and smash with a hammer until fine. Set aside.

In the bowl of your food processor fitted with a stainless steel blade, puree the cottage cheese until silky smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and puree until well blended.

Sprinkle some cookie crumbs in the bottom of six narrow and tall glasses. Spoon in the parfait mixture, then more cookies crumbs, building the parfait in layers. Top with two tablespoons Maine wild blueberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 129 calories, 9 grams protein, 19 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fat,( 0 grams trans fat), 32 mg. sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Wild Blueberry Smoothie

Makes 2 servings

No time for breakfast? Whip this up in the blender and take it to go on your way to work.

1 cup frozen Maine wild blueberries

1 large banana or 1 cup frozen strawberries or 1 cup canned peaches

1 cup soy milk or yogurt

In a blender, combine ingredients until well blended. Pour into glasses and serve.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 134 calories, 8 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fat, (0 grams trans fat), 96 mg. Sodium, 4 grams fiber.

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Fenceviewer Staff

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