It is time for the blueberry to take center stage! The official berry of Nova Scotia is in its prime. As a young child, my best memory around blueberries is picking them right off the bush and eating more than ended up in my bucket! I also remember enjoying them with milk and a sprinkle of sugar (well maybe more than a sprinkle). It is a wonderful thing when something so tasty is also so healthy!
Blueberries can complement any healthy eating routine. Their nutrition profile is stellar. A one cup serving provides just 80 calories. They provide minimal sodium (1 mg/cup) and are a source of fibre (4 grams/cup). Of particular interest is the high level of antioxidants in blueberries. Antioxidants are well known for the prevention of cell damage within our body.
Wild versus cultivated blueberries, is there a difference? The calories, sodium and fibre are similar; the difference lies with their size. Wild blueberries (low bush) are much smaller than their cultivated (high bush) sibling. Much of the antioxidant power lies in the skin. A cup of wild blueberries could have almost twice the blueberry skin as a cup of cultivated blueberries. More skin equals more available antioxidants!
Many individuals like to freeze the berries they purchase or pick at this time of year. And the good news is blueberries freeze very well! The tray method is an excellent method for freezing. It will keep your berries from sticking together when frozen, hence you are more likely to use them and reap their benefits. Here’s how you do it:
- Rinse the berries then let them dry in a single layer on towels.
- Lay the berries, again in a single layer, on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Place in freezer until frozen.
- Seal in freezer-safe containers for up to one year.
Use your frozen blueberries straight from the freezer in your morning cereal, yogurt or baking. Try this delightful recipe below. It would be great as a snack with a cup of tea or coffee or even a breakfast on the go.
Multi-Bran Blueberry Banana Bread
4 eggs 1 ½ cups (375 mL) PC Organics All Purpose Flour 1 cup (250 mL) PC Blue Menu Fibre First Multi-Bran Cereal ¼ cup (50 mL) PC Organics 100% Pure Safflower Oil ¾ cup (175 mL) granulated sugar 1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda 1 cup (250 mL) mashed ripe bananas (about 3) 1 cup (250 mL) fresh or frozen blueberries
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray 9 X 5-inch loaf pan (2 L) with PC Blue Menu Canola Oil Cooking Spray. In large bowl, stir together flour, cereal, sugar and baking soda. In another bowl whisk together banana, eggs and oil. Using wooden spoon, stir banana mixture into flour mixture. Do not over mix. Stir in blueberries. Spoon into prepared loaf pan. Bake in centre of oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Per serving: 200 calories, fat 6 g, sodium 150 mg, carbohydrates 33 g, fibre 4 g, protein 4 g.
Recipe source: www.pc.ca
Anne Marie Armstrong, BscAHN, PDt is a registered dietitian with Atlantic Superstores in Nova Scotia.
Have a nutrition question? Contact me by calling 1-888-225-5295 ext.632157 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org