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Cooking with Blueberries

 

 



 

One of the nation’s most well liked fruits; berries have origins in both Europe and here in the United States. The Native Americans were the first to incorporate berries into their diets and lifestyle. Today, berries are appreciated worldwide.

Berries signify summer and rightfully so, as the warmer months are the peak harvest for these fruits. Berries have traditionally included blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. However, there are other varieties that have since flooded the markets.

Many berries are suitable to eat raw and most types vary from 50 to 100 calories per serving if eaten raw. Berries are brimming with vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.

 
Blueberries
Serving size 1/2 cup (73g)
Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 40 
Calories from Fat 0 
Total Fat 0g1%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 0mg0%
Total Carbohydrate 11g4%
  Dietary Fiber 2g7%
  Sugars 7g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C10%
Calcium0%
Iron2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

Selection

In general, berries should be dry, firm, well shaped, and eaten within a week after purchase. If you can’t eat them that soon, remember that berries freeze well! It’s best to buy berries that are ‘in-season’ as they’ll cost less and are more ripe and flavorful than ‘out-of-season’ berries.

Stay away from containers of berries with juice stains which may be a sign that the berries are crushed and possibly moldy; soft, watery fruit that means the berries are overripe; dehydrated, wrinkled fruit that means the berries have been stored too long.

Select blueberries that are firm, dry, plump, and smooth-skinned. Berries should be deep-purple blue to blue-black; reddish berries aren't ripe but can be used in cooking.

Storage

After purchasing berries, check the fruit and toss out any moldy or deformed berries. Immediately eat the overripe berries within 24 hours. Return the other berries back to the original container or they should be arranged unwashed in a shallow pan lined with paper towels, and washed just prior to use. The berries may be topped with a paper towel to absorb any additional moisture. Plastic wrap the entire container. This will ensure the fruit retains its freshness, but generally berries should be eaten within one week.

Freezing Berries

Because berries have a short shelf life, an alternative to enjoy them year round is to buy them fresh and freeze them yourself. The secret to successful freezing is to use unwashed and completely dry berries before placing them in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen, transfer them to plastic bags or freezer containers. Frozen berries should last approximately ten months to one year.

Preparation of Berries

When you’re ready to use the berries, go through the lot once more to sort out any undesirable fruit. Then, rinse, drain, and pat dry the fruit. Commercially frozen berries do not need to be ‘cleaned’ or thawed. If you froze your own berries, a quick rinse may be necessary.

Berry Helpful Hints

  • Blueberries tend to change color during cooking. Acids, like lemon juice and vinegar, make the blue in blueberries turn red. In an alkaline environment, such as a batter with too much baking soda, the blueberries may turn greenish-blue.
  • To reduce the amount of color streaking, stir your blueberries (right from your freezer, if frozen) into your cake or muffin batter last.
  • When making pancakes and waffles, add the blueberries as soon as the batter has been poured on the griddle or waffle iron. This will make the pancakes prettier and they'll be easier to flip. If frozen blueberries are used, cooking time may have to be increased to be sure the berries are heated through.
  • Frozen raspberries and blackberries are available in grocery stores. Blackberries are available in 16 oz. poly bags, while raspberries are available in 12 oz. poly bags.
  • A 12 oz. bag of whole frozen raspberries is equal to about 3 cups frozen berries.
  • A 16 oz. bag of whole frozen blackberries is equal to about 3 cups frozen berries.
  • Whole frozen berries destined for your baked goods should be used frozen. Gently fold into pies, cakes and muffins just prior to use.
  • Store whole frozen berries in their unopened or tightly resealed packages in your freezer. If berries are to be served alone, thaw until they are pliable and serve partially frozen. Add sugar to taste — it brings out both the flavor and the luscious juices.

Varieties

Wild blueberries are smaller in size compared to their cultivated cousins. Blueberries have a protective light powdery coating on the skins and tend to last longer than other berry varieties. Nearly half of the cultivated blueberries grown are sold as fresh blueberries. Fresh blueberries are available for nearly eight months of the year from producers across the United States and Canada. North America is the world's leading blueberry producer, accounting for nearly 90% of world production at the present time. The North American harvest runs from mid-April through early October, with peak harvest in mid-May—August.

Recipes

Dessert Waffles With Spiced Blueberry Sauce
Serves 4
Each serving equals 1/2 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: Highbush Blueberry Council

Ingredients

 

2 cups fresh blueberries, divided
3 Tbsp sugar
1½ Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ to ½ tsp ground black pepper
4 (4½ inch) fresh or frozen waffles
4 scoops low fat vanilla frozen yogurt or low fat ice cream

In a small saucepan, combine half of the blueberries, the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, black pepper and 1/3 cup water. Over medium heat, bring to a boil: boil for 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in remaining blueberries; cool. Toast waffles; place on dessert plates. Scoop frozen yogurt onto waffles; top with blueberry sauce.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 267, Total Fat 4g, Calories from Fat 13%, Cholesterol 1mg, Fiber 4g, Sodium 270mg, Protein 5g.

Blueberry-Filled Dutch Pancake
Serves 3
Each serving equals 1/2 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: Highbush Blueberry Council

Ingredients

 

1 Tbsp butter
3 eggs
½ cup skim or low fat milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar, divided
1/4 tsp salt, optional
1½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries (thawed and drained if frozen)
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup sliced bananas

Preheat oven to 450 F. Place butter in a 9-inch pie plate or a 9 or 10-inch ovenproof skillet.* Melt butter in oven, about 5 minutes; tilt plate to coat evenly with butter.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine eggs, milk, flour, 1 Tbsp of the sugar and the salt until smooth. Pour batter into plate; bake for 8 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 F; bake until pancake is golden brown and sides are puffy, about 8 to 10 minutes longer.
While that is baking, combine blueberries with the remaining 2 Tbsp sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl.
Remove pancake from oven; scatter bananas over pancake. Spoon blueberries over bananas. Cut into wedges; serve immediately.

*To make handle ovenproof, wrap completely with aluminum foil.
Note: For more servings, double all ingredients; bake in 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan about 20–25 minutes at 425°F.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 313, Fat 10g, Calories from Fat 28%, Cholesterol 257mg, Fiber 3g, Sodium 336mg, Protein 11g.

Blueberry-Onion Sauced Pork Tenderloin
Serves 4
Each serving equals 3/4 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: Highbush Blueberry Council

Ingredients

 

¾ to 1 pound pork tenderloin
2 Tbsp butter, divided
2 medium onions, sliced
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp sugar
¼ cup port wine or sweet sherry
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes

Preheat broiler. Broil pork, turning occasionally, until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove to a platter; cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 Tbsp of the butter. Add onions, salt and pepper; cook until onions are golden, about 10 minutes. Add sugar; cook until onions are caramelized, 3 minutes longer Add port, balsamic, blueberries and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Thinly slice pork and serve with sauce.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 245, Fat 7g, Cholesterol 81mg, Fiber 2g, Sodium 389mg, Protein 24g.

Blueberry Crumble
Serves 6
Each serving equals 1/2 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: Highbush Blueberry Council

Ingredients

 

4 cups fresh or thawed, frozen blueberries
1 to 2 Tbsp sugar
3 packages (1.5 ounces each instant oatmeal with maple and brown sugar)
3 Tbsp butter, softened

Preheat oven to 375° F. In a 9-inch pie plate, toss blueberries with sugar. In a small bowl, combine oatmeal and butter until mixture forms coarse crumbs; sprinkle over blueberries. Bake until mixture bubbles around the edge and topping is light brown, 30 to 35 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 210, Fat 7g, Calories from Fat 29%, Cholesterol 15mg, Fiber 5g, Sodium 185mg, Protein 3g.

Blueberry Tortilla Pizza
Serves 4
Each serving equals 1/2 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: Highbush Blueberry Council

Ingredients

 

½ cup ricotta or whipped low fat cream cheese
1 Tbsp confectioners sugar
1 pint fresh blueberries
½ cup sliced strawberries
1 large (10-inch) flour tortilla
1 Tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp cinnamon sugar
¼ cup toasted shredded coconut, divided*

Preheat broiler. In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese and confectioners sugar; set aside. In another small bowl, combine blueberries and strawberries. Arrange tortilla on a broiler pan; brush with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Broil about 6 inches from heat source, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Cool slightly. Spread ricotta mixture on the tortilla; top with blueberry mixture and then sprinkle with coconut.
*To toast coconut, place in a skillet over moderate heat until pale gold, stirring constantly.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 174, Fat 5g, Calories from Fat 30%, Cholesterol 10mg, Fiber 4g, Sodium 103mg, Protein 5g.

Marinated Blueberries And Tropical Fruits
Makes 6 1/2 cup servings
Each serving equals 1 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: Highbush Blueberry Council

Ingredients

 

¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup orange juice
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh or canned pineapple chunks
1 mango, peeled, pitted and cubed (about 1½ cups)
1 kiwi, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about ½ cup)

In a microwaveable bowl, combine brown sugar, orange juice and orange liqueur, if desired. Microwave on high 1 minute. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Or, in a medium saucepan combine sugar, orange juice and orange liqueur. Cook and stir over very low heat until sugar is dissolved. In a large bowl, combine blueberries, pineapple, mango and kiwi. Stir in sugar-orange juice mixture until blended. Serve alone, as a dessert or over sorbet, sponge cake or frozen yogurt.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 142, Fat 0g, Calories from Fat 0%, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 3g, Sodium 9mg, Protein 1g.

Creamy Smoked Turkey & Blueberry Salad
Serves 8
Each serving equals 1/2 cup of fruit or vegetables
Source: Highbush Blueberry Council

Ingredients

 

¼ cup light mayonnaise
½ cup plain low-fat yogurt
¼ cup orange marmalade
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp ground black pepper
3 medium peaches (about 1 pound), cut in wedges (about 3 cups)
1 pint blueberries
2 cups cubed smoked turkey (about 8 ounces)

In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, marmalade, lemon juice and pepper. Add peach slices, blueberries and turkey; toss until well coated. Serve on lettuce leaves, if desired.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 138, Fat 4g, Calories from Fat 27%, Cholesterol 19mg, Fiber 2g, Sodium 314mg, Protein 6g.

 


Source:
http://www.5aday.gov/


 

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