3 Healthy Wild Blueberry Recipes to Protect Your Brain and Body
The wild blueberry is a beloved fruit with a long history.
Blueberries are one of only three berries native to North America.
Records dating back hundreds of years detail how indigenous populations
used the little blue berry in trade and in medicine to heal wounds.
Wild blueberries have been a staple of the traditional diet for North
American indigenous populations for generations, and berry gathering has
always been both a social and a spiritual activity. Legend has it that in
times of starvation, the Great Spirit sent these “star berries” down to
relieve the hunger of his children.http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/05/19/10-overlooked-truths-about-taking-action/
What’s the difference between a wild blueberry and a regular blueberry?
Wild blueberries are called lowbush blueberries because – you guessed it –
the bushes grow low to the ground! Many people prefer the taste of wild to cultivated
blueberries. They’re much smaller than regular blueberries and are prized for
their intense deep blue color. That deep blue color is also what accounts for
a more concentrated level of antioxidants in the fruit.
Where and when do wild blueberries grow?
Wild blueberries grow naturally and uncultivated in Quebec, Maine,
and the Maritime provinces of Canada. Nova Scotia is the biggest producer
and exporter of wild blueberries in North America.
Wild blueberries are available year-round in formats ranging from frozen
to puréed to dried. But fresh wild blueberries are only available, and can
be picked, from August to September each year.
Health benefits of blueberries
While many foods may possess particular health benefits, like broccoli’s
anti-cancer properties or soy’s bone health properties, blueberries have a
strong and remarkable influence on a huge range of human biomarkers related
to chronic disease. Blueberries seem to have positive effects on everything
from brain, gut, and heart health to cancer and diabetes prevention.http://www.wildblueberries.com/health-research/research/
A recent studyhhttp://www.bettermail.ca/m/1541/m/1135170/
out of the University of Maine suggests that eating a
diet containing wild blueberries may have a positive impact on metabolic
disease and in so doing may help to reduce the risk of developing Type 2
diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Blueberries have also shown anti-carcinogenic properties, and an ability to
dramatically lower blood glucose levels after eating and increase insulin sensitivity.
According to James A. Joseph, PhD, former lead researcher at the Jean Mayer USDA
Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, wild blueberries may be “one of the best
age-proofing foods in your diet.”
1. Avocado Wild Blueberry Smoothie
- 1 cup wild blueberries, frozen
- 1 ripe avocado
- 5 oz low-fat, plain yogurt
- ½ organic lime’s zest and juice
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons almond paste
- 2 oz 1% milk
- Pink pepper berries
- Chopped and pounded mint
1. Cut avocado into halves and remove pit. Spoon avocado meat
from the skin and puree in blender with yogurt, lime zest and juice,
and 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar. Pour into glasses.
2. Purée almond paste, remaining brown sugar, and milk, add frozen
wild blueberries and blend until smooth. Carefully add to the avocado
smoothie mixture so the two layers remain distinct.
3. Garnish with pink pepper berries and mint. Serve with a swizzle stick.
2. Vegetable Couscous with Wild Blueberries
- 1 cup (250 mL) vegetable stock
- 3 Tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
- 1 cup (250 mL) couscous
- 1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon rind
- Pinch ground cumin
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) walnut halves, chopped
- 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) frozen wild blueberries
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) cooked (canned) chickpeas
- Salt and pepper
- 4 sprigs each fresh coriander and flat leaf parsley, chopped
1. In small saucepan, bring vegetable stock and 2 Tbsp (25 mL) of the olive oil
to a boil. Add couscous, lemon rind, and cumin; stir to combine. Remove from heat
and cover; let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and scrape into large bowl.
2. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in skillet over medium heat and cook
carrots for 5 minutes or until softened but firm. Add zucchini and cook
for 3 minutes or until softened. Remove from heat and add walnuts.
Add to couscous. Add wild blueberries and chickpeas to bowl.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add coriander and parsley and stir
to combine well.
Tip: Cover and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
3. Poached Salmon and Wild Blueberry Crème Fraîche
For the Salmon:
- 2 pounds fresh salmon fillets
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 large shallot, sliced thinly
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp fresh herbs (dill, tarragon, parsley), chopped
For the Dressing:
- 1 cup crème fraîche
- ¼ cup frozen wild blueberries, thawed (plus more for garnish)
- 1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- Juice from ½ lemon
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 small shallots, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh herbs (use what you used on salmon), chopped
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Sliced lemon for garnish
1. For the dressing, combine the crème fraîche, wild blueberries, fresh lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, half the chopped shallots, salt, and
pepper in a food processor. Pulse the mixture until it is well blended and sauce-like. Transfer sauce to a small bowl and stir in the
remaining shallots and fresh herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more lemon, salt, or pepper.
2. Meanwhile, season salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Pour the wine, water, shallots, herbs, and salt into a large skillet and
bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and let cook for about 2–3 minutes or until the shallots are tender.
Place the salmon fillets skin side down in the poaching liquid. Cook uncovered for 4–8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon.
3. When ready to serve, arrange salmon fillets on a large platter decorated with sliced lemons. Serve with wild blueberry sauce drizzled on top or on the side for dipping.
Where to buy wild blueberries
You can buy wild blueberries in stores across North America year-round. Just make sure the label says “wild blueberries.”
They will be smaller than other types of blueberries. You can search by state for stores where you can buy wild blueberries here.
In Canada you can find wild blueberries at COOP stores, Loblaws, Sobeys, National Grocers, Wal-Mart, and Costco. You can also find fresh wild
blueberries from August to September at farmers’ markets across North America.
While commercial crops continue to produce bigger and blander fruits and vegetables, the tiny wild blueberry is still standing its ground, 10,000 years later.
All recipes are from the Wild Blueberry Association of North America.
Special thanks to Mary Ann Lila, PhD, Director of Plants for Human Health Institute at North Carolina State University.