Blueberry season is underway in Michigan!

Blueberry Season Underway In Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - July is blueberry season in Michigan!

Not only do these tiny little berries taste great, but they are also a superfood loaded with antioxidants to protect your body against heart disease, cancer and digestive disorders.

On today’s “On the Menu” segment, Registered Dietitian Katie Francisco is here with to discuss the health benefits of blueberries and share some delicious recipe ideas!

Health Benefits

Don’t let the size and beautiful color fool you, blueberries are one of the most powerful superfoods packed with potassium, folate, manganese, Vitamin C, copper and fiber. In addition to all of these vitamins, they also have antioxidant power with pterostilbene, resveratrol and athocyanin. This means they help your body to shield against harmful free-radicals that are dangerous to your heart and your skin. They are also cancer-fighting agents. Take advantage of the bountiful supply this summer at your local farmer's market or plan a fun day at a blueberry farm that offers u-pick berries!

Tips

Shopping

When shopping, choose berries that are firm, plum and dry. Avoid containers with stains, moisture or mold. If the blueberries appear green, it is a sign they are not ripe (and they will not ripen after picking). When buying frozen berries, shake the bag to check for large lumps which can be a sign of defrost.

Storing

Throw away any damaged or spoiled berries immediately, before they spoil the rest. Blueberries are best kept in the produce drawer of the fridge with high humidity and low air circulation. Try to eat them within three days for highest nutrition value, but they should last in the fridge for one week. Wait to rinse in cold water until you are ready to eat them.

Freezing

Spread berries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; place in the freezer for a few hours. Once frozen, store in a freezer-safe bag or container.

Michigan Blueberry Festivals

  • Imlay City Blueberry Festival, July 21 & 22 in Downtown Imlay City
  • Marquette Blueberry Festival, July 28 on West Washington & Front Streets in Marquette
  • South Haven 54th Annual National Blueberry Festival, August 10 through 13

Recipes

Blueberry Peach Orzo Salad

Makes 6 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces (about 1 1/3 cups) uncooked orzo pasta, cooked, drained and cooled with cold water
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1 peach, pitted and chopped
  • 2 cups arugula

Directions:

In a serving bowl, whisk olive oil, vinegar, orange juice, orange zest, kosher salt and pepper until blended. Add cooled orzo, blueberries, peach and arugula and stir until evenly coated.

Blueberry Pineapple Salsa

5 minutes, makes 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Blueberries
  • 2 tbsp Cilantro, loosely packed
  • 1 Garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Ginger, ground
  • 1 Jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 2 cups Pineapple, fresh, diced
  • 1 Red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tbsp Red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin, ground

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in large bowel. Chill overnight or for at least 1 hour. Serve over fish, chicken, tacos or with chips. Also great all by itself!

Blueberry Almond Crumble

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup old­ fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 T pure maple syrup
  • 1 ½ T melted butter
  • 6 cups blueberries
  • 3 T cornstarch
  • 2 t almond extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8”­square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix the oats, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add in the maple syrup and butter, stirring until completely blended. In separate large bowl, stir together the blueberries, cornstarch, and almond extract. Transfer the blueberry mixture into the prepared pan, and sprinkle the oat streusel on top. Bake at 350°F for 50-­60 minutes, or until the blueberry juices are bubbling. Cool completely to room temperature; then chill for at least 3 hours before serving.

The crumble will last for 6 days if covered and chilled in the refrigerator.

Recipe modified from Amy's Healthy Baking

No-Bake Glazed Blueberry Oat Bars

Number of servings (yield): 16 bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups blueberries, divided
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup almonds, sliced and toasted
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice or water (optional)

Directions:

Line an 8-inch x 8-inch pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang and spray with cooking spray. In a food processor, combine 1 cup blueberries, oats, dates, almonds, chia seeds, orange zest and cinnamon and process until mixture is sticky and holds together. Stir in remaining 1 cup blueberries. Press into prepared pan and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours. Combine confectioners’ sugar and orange juice and drizzle over top if desired. Cut into 16 bars.

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