Welcome to our latest installment of farmers market recipes where we focus on a crop that’s in season and abundant at local farmers markets. This installment – delicious ways to use blueberries!
Visit any New England farmers market in early August, and you’ll find a bounty of perfectly ripe, delicious blueberries. Blueberries are anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, they seem to affect brain plasticity and can support cognitive function, and, according to some research, can inhibit the growth of h. pylori, a bacteria implicated in gastric ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems. It provides more antioxidant activity than acai or pomegranate, and, at this time of year, blueberries are affordable and easily available. They’re also wonderfully versatile – you can reap the health benefits of blueberries by snacking on a handful of them, sprinkling them on salad, baking them into a pie, stirring them into ice cream, or including them in a yummy variation of vinaigrette dressing. Evidence shows that you get far more benefit from eating whole blueberries than you do from taking supplements with blueberry extract – and the whole berry is so much tastier! So grab a few pints of blueberries at your favorite farmers market or pick-your-own farm, and try out one of these recipes. (And remember, you can use SNAP at many farmers markets and farm stands – and HIP can help your SNAP go further.)
Five No-Fuss Ways to Enjoy Blueberries
One of the lovely things about fresh blueberries is that you don’t have to do a whole lot with them to make them delicious. Check out these five ways to add the healthy taste of blueberries to your diet.
Make a Blueberry Salad Dressing
Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing is a refreshing switch from basic oil-and-vinegar or the more common raspberry vinaigrette. It’s absolutely delicious drizzled over a spinach salad, but adds a fresh new twist to any salad.
Toss a Spinach Salad with Blueberries and Blue Cheese Crumbles
This one doesn’t need a recipe – it’s exactly what the title says. Low carb, high protein, and high in iron, it’s become one of my go-to favorite lunches. Just throw some baby spinach leaves in a bowl, add in a handful of juicy berries and top with a sprinkle of blue cheese crumbles. If you’re not a blue cheese fan, substitute any sharp cheese – feta works well, and so does a nice cheddar. Add blueberry vinaigrette dressing, and enjoy.
Mix Blueberries Into Your Batter
Seriously, whether you’re making muffins, pancakes, waffles or cupcakes, just stir in a couple handfuls of blueberries to add tangy, tasty, healthy benefits that make everything just a little bit better.
Freeze Blueberries for Granita
Blueberry granita is a little more complicated than tossing blueberries into your favorite recipe, but not by much. You can follow a recipe, or you can wing it. Combine blueberries, a little lemon juice, water, and sugar in the blender or food processor and whirl until smooth. Strain it through a wire colander, and freeze it in a flat pan. Every hour or so, open the freezer, stir up the granita, and put it back in. When you’re ready to serve, scrape the granita with a fork, and scoop it into serving dishes. Refreshing and delish!
Infuse Your Favorite Liquid with Blueberries
Fruit infusions are trendy – but they’ve been around for a very long time. Summer is a great time to make your own fruit-infused water – here’s simple instructions for blueberry-infused water – it really is as easy as tossing berries in a jar, adding water and refrigerating. And blueberries are also a great choice for more – ahem – adult infused beverages. These instructions can help you figure out how to make your own blueberry vodka at home.