Archive for Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Love those summertime blues

August 19, 2009


Two pints of blueberries for $5. Just a few weeks ago, they were even cheaper. Sigh. How quickly summer passes. Hoarding sounds so greedy. Nicer to say stocking up or putting by. Call it what you will — stockpile blueberries while they’re in season.

Their flavor alone would be reason enough. Blueberries are sweet, but with delicate floral notes, perhaps a function of their family relationship to azaleas and rhododendrons.

These juicy gems are not only delectable, they’re nutritional rock stars. With just 80 calories, one cup delivers about 20 percent of your daily vitamin C allowance, a goodly amount of digestion-enhancing fiber and a mother lode of phytonutrients.

Blueberries get their deep bluish-purple hue from anthocyanins, a flavonoid that gives them more antioxidant power than grapes or cranberries. And U.S. Department of Agriculture research suggests that consuming produce at the top of the antioxidant scale may slow down the aging process.

Blueberries may keep us young, but they don’t hang around forever themselves. That’s where freezing comes in: Rinse, blot dry and store your berries in freezer bags. Lay them flat so the berries can freeze without clumping. They can last up to a year.

Though they freeze beautifully, blueberries morph into mush upon thawing, so use them straight from the freezer in smoothies and muffin or pancake batter and enjoy the sweet taste of summer all year long.

Stealth-Health Blueberry Muffins

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1 tablespoon baking powder

Zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin cups with paper liners or lightly grease them. Melt butter.

Mix the flour, sugar, oats and baking powder in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk to blend. Grate in lemon zest.

Add applesauce, yogurt and melted butter. Stir gently until all ingredients are just combined and moist. Fold in blueberries.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake for 35 minutes, or until tops are golden and firm. Makes 1 dozen muffins.

Per muffin: 153 calories (16 percent from fat), 2.7 grams fat (1.3 g saturated, 0.7 grams monounsaturated), 5.3 milligrams cholesterol, 3.4 grams protein, 29.2 grams carbohydrates, 1.8 grams fiber, 121 milligrams sodium.


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