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Blueberries - a versatile little berry!
Member Name: AlmshoeRachy
Date: 18/03/12, updated on 18/03/12 (85 review reads)
Advantages: Great in many recipes
Disadvantages: Price and airmiles
Blueberries, for those of you who don't know, are small, round, smooth skinned indigo coloured berries. They are part of the same family as cranberries and bilberries. They are grown in many countries across the globe so are available all year round. The blueberries I have just brought from Sainsbury's were grown in Chile so unfortunately have a few airmiles.
Blueberries are sometimes described as a 'superfood' due to their high level of antioxidants. They are said to help protect against cancer and heart disease. Only 80g count as one of your 'five a day', and 100g has only 57 calories and contains 10g of sugar.
They are a very versatile fruit. When brought they need storing in the fridge, and usually have a shelf life of four days. You can eat them raw (best served at room temperature) or use them for a variety of foods, including cakes, muffins and bread.
Recipe and useage ideas include adding to a bowl of weetabix or sprinkling over natural yoghurt for breakfast. They are the perfect addition to a muffin, creating a beautiful contrasting colour to the pale muffin mixture throughout. Another way to use them is to topping a cream cheese bagel with chopped blueberries, or add a handful to your fruit smoothie. Other recipes include cooking the blueberries with lemon zest, sugar and water for a cheesecake topping. You can also use them for savoury dishes, and they go well with both game and seafood. I have even made blueberry flavoured vodka, although this wasn't a hugely popular one so I would not make again.
To eat raw, the flavours can vary greatly although they are from the same punnet. I prefer the nice firm sharp tasting ones rather than the soft, mushy ones with less flavour.
My favourite way by far to eat them, is frozen. Whenever we buy them they go straight in to the freezer, and then OH and I will share a punnet for dessert in the evening. Freezing them changes the texture and I find it makes them much more appealing, as they never taste bland and you have to chew them rather than them just dissolving into a mouthful of mush! I recently tried blending the blueberries as soon as I had brought them, and then poured the mixture into ramekins and put in the freezer. About five minutes before you want to eat, remove from the freezer, and it is like home made blueberry sorbet.
Unfortunately they can be expensive to buy. A 200g punnet from Sainsbury's costs £2.25 (£11.25 per kg). They are currently on offer for two for £4.
Overall, blueberries are a fantastic and versatile fruit with many health benefits. If you are like me, and not a big fan of them raw on their own, then try them frozen. Four star dessert from me!
Summary: A versatile and tasty little berry!