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True Blue

May/June 2008 California Country magazine

Fresh, plump blueberries are equally at home sprinkled on a salad or whirled in a smoothie as they are tucked in a cobbler or cooked in a sauce for grilled meats.



For a tiny little berry, there's a whole lot to love. Blueberries are sweet and juicy, no doubt, plus there's mounting scientific evidence that blueberries help promote good health. For example, they're rich in antioxidants, which help protect healthy cells and appear to reduce the risk of ailments such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's.

And these blue jewels are more versatile than one might think. Fresh, plump blueberries are equally at home sprinkled on a salad or whirled in a smoothie as they are tucked in a cobbler or cooked in a sauce for grilled meats.

Fresh blueberries are most plentiful in summer. They're harvested from March to July in California, but supply peaks in late May through mid-June.

When purchasing fresh blueberries, look for firm, plump, dry berries with a smooth skin and silvery sheen. Refrigerate as soon as you get home, then wash just before use.

Try the recipes that follow or simply grab a handful and eat--no chopping, peeling or coring necessary.

For more recipes and other information, visit www.blueberry.org.

Blueberry-shrimp salad with lemon vinaigrette

Blueberry-shrimp salad with lemon vinaigrette

Serves 6

3/4 lb. (about 20) shelled medium shrimp, boiled or grilled
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
1/2 cup edamame or green peas, cooked
5 oz. (about 4 cups) mixed salad greens
Lemon vinaigrette (recipe follows)
2 oz. (about 1/2 cup) firm white cheese, such as feta, crumbled

In a large salad bowl, toss shrimp, blueberries, walnut pieces, edamame and salad greens. Evenly divide salad onto 6 plates; drizzle with lemon vinaigrette. Sprinkle cheese around edges of salad.

Lemon vinaigrette
In a small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper and 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper.

Blueberry cheesecake for calorie counters

Blueberry cheesecake for calorie counters

Serves 8

3 tbsp. graham cracker crumbs
2 (6-oz.) containers low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
4 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup egg substitute
Blueberry sauce (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray; sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs and tilt to coat evenly. Place a coffee filter or two layers of paper towels in a strainer; stir 1 container of the yogurt and spoon it into the filter; set aside to drain, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend the remaining container of yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese and cornstarch until smooth. Add egg substitute and pulse until combined. Carefully pour into the crumb-coated pie plate; smooth top. Bake until set in the center, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare blueberry sauce. When pie is set, spread drained yogurt over the top; bake 5 minutes longer. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Chill until cold. Serve with blueberry sauce.

Blueberry sauce
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries with 2 tbsp. sugar (or granulated no-calorie sweetener) and 1 tbsp. each lemon juice and water until berries are soft, about 5 minutes; chill.

Quick blueberry-cranberry relish

Quick blueberry-cranberry relish

Serves 16

1 (8-oz.) can whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Place cranberry sauce in a medium microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high power until melted, 60 to 80 seconds. Remove from microwave; fold in blueberries and nuts. Serve warm (such as over warm Brie cheese) or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Blueberry mini-scones

Blueberry mini-scones

Makes 16

2 cups biscuit mix (such as Bisquick)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet. In a medium bowl, combine biscuit mix and sugar. With a wooden spoon, stir in milk until mixture forms a ball; flatten dough on a lightly floured board. Pat or roll out dough to make a 14-by-7-inch rectangle. Scatter blueberries over half of the dough (in a 7-inch square); fold over remaining half of the dough. Gently press to a uniform thickness. Cut dough in 4 squares (3 1/2 inches each); cut each square diagonally in both directions to make 16 triangles. Arrange mini-scones on prepared baking sheet. Bake in upper third of oven until browned on top, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve warm.


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