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Ingredient Wed Aug 19 2009
In a follow up to my recent post, Smart Foods, I'm going to begin doing weekly posts about a new food or ingredient that provides exceptional or unexpected nutritional value. Berry season is upon us and one of my favorites is blueberries. I love eating them with yogurt, in pancakes, jam, and pies - of course they are delicious plain as well (they're great frozen). I also love blueberry beer, though I doubt that offers the same health benefits as the actual fruit.
Health Benefits: According to the US Highbush Blueberry Council (yes, this actually exists) and healthcastle.com blueberries are among the fruits with the highest antioxidant activity. Antioxidants prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. "When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals which can cause damage. Antioxidants act as free radical scavengers and prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals." Antioxidants are key in prevention of glaucoma, heart disease, cancer, ulcers and many other diseases. An added benefit: Blueberries are very low in calories.
One of my favorite places to go for fresh blueberries is Pick Me Up Café in Lakeview. For $8 you can get a fruit and granola platter that consists of a huge bowl of fruit - chock full of blueberries - served with yogurt and delicious granola. Also be sure to check out the local farmers markets.
Like to cook? Here's my mom's recipe for Swedish pancakes - I've always loved them topped with blueberries:
4 eggs, well beaten
Dash of salt
1/4 C. sugar
1/2 C. flour
1 C. milk
1/3 C. melted butter
Mix in above order, batter will be thin. Cook in a medium pan over medium heat - pancake will be the size of the pan. Flip each pancake only once. Top with fresh blueberries and powdered sugar.