July is Blueberry Month!
Blueberries, oh yum!
Summertime is prime time for these powerful nuggets of juicy sweetness. We were amazed to discover all the virtues and health benefits of this super food that we decided to share them with you:
- Antioxidant Rich. Blueberries are full of antioxidants that help lessen chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation may lead to serious illnesses like autoimmune conditions, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
- Brain & Whole Body Function. Studies show regular blueberry consumption improves memory and cognition. This fruit contains vitamins A, C and E, selenium, copper, magnesium, and phosphorous to assist central nervous system functions. Also, the presence of manganese supports bone development.
- Digestion Assist. Blueberries are especially low in calories and are a low glycemic index food. These factors help keep the body regular, support weight loss, and help to maintain blood sugar levels.
- Heart Helpful. Regular consumption appears helpful in reducing some heart disease risk factors by lowering blood pressure and decreasing oxidized LDL cholesterol.
- Improves Skin Tone. High amounts of vitamin C in blueberries promote collagen formation and skincare elasticity.
Interesting Facts About Blueberries
Archaeological data shows blueberries existed 10,000 years ago. Native American Indians valued blueberries for medicinal use, as a source of food, and in cultural context long before the arrival of colonists. Here are some quick facts:
- A fruit species native to North America
- Successfully domesticated for commercial production in 1916
- American blueberries are grown in 35 states
- 10 states supply 98 percent of all commercial production
- 2015 U.S. blueberry production yielded 735 Million pounds
- 2015 annual per capita blueberry consumption: 50 ounces
- U.S. growing season begins in April and ends in September
- Winter blueberries come from South America: Chile, Argentina, Peru & Uruguay
- Blueberry bushes produce up to 20 years and are resistant to most pests and diseases
- National Blueberry Month was officially designated in 2003
It is fitting that we celebrate National Blueberry Month every July during peak harvest time. A serving or two of blueberries on a regular basis is safe and beneficial for most people.
Organic, fresh blueberries are especially nutritious when eaten raw. It is also easy to throw in a few ounces of flour-dusted blueberries to liven up a muffin or pancake batter.
Try this Hand Pie recipe for a tasty summer treat on the run:
By Lynn/Nourish and Nestle (makes 4)
Ingredients & Instructions
- 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 8 Tablespoon butter, very cold and cut into half inch pieces
- 1 egg yolk (reserve the white)
- 1/2 cup full fat sour cream with a couple more Tablespoons as needed
In a food processor, mix flour and salt. Add very cold butter to flour. Pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal, with just a few larger pieces remaining. Mix egg yolk with sour cream. Add to mixture and pulse until dough holds together. If it’s too dry, add sour cream tablespoon by tablespoon.
Divide dough into four equal pieces, form into disks and wrap each in parchment or wax paper. Refrigerate for one hour. While dough is chilling, prepare the filling.
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 Tablespoon sugar (or more if you like a sweeter filling)
- 1 Tablespoon clear gel or 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix filling ingredients together. Mash a few blueberries to release juice, enough to moisten dry ingredients. Set aside for an hour.
To Prep and Bake
Bring dough out of the refrigerator. Roll each disk to 1/8-inch thickness, forming a 6 inch circle. Brush beaten egg white on the side where filling will be placed. Place 1/4 of the blueberry mixture on each disk. Fold over and crimp the edges. Place on a parchment lined baking tray. Make three 1/2-inch cuts on the crust top. Repeat process and place completed pies in the freezer for one hour, or package them to cook at a later time.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove hand pies from freezer. Brush with egg yolk. Sprinkle with sugar if desired. Place in oven and set timer for 10 minutes. At the end of 10 minutes, reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and bake 10 to 15 minutes longer.
You can never go wrong with a nice Blueberry Pie and what better way to celebrate than on the National holiday for these berries!
Your health and quality of life are our priorities.
Enjoy the deliciousness!