July is National Blueberry Month

By  | 

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - July is National Blueberry Month. Here are some ways you can incorporate them into your diet.

Blueberry Basics

• Nutrition benefits:
o Fiber: helps reduce cholesterol levels and may lower your risk of heart disease.
o Vitamin C: helps heal cuts and helps the immune system.

• Selection: look for blueberries that are firm, plump, dry, and a deep purple-blue color. Avoid blueberries that are shriveled or look wet.

• Storage: store in the refrigerator for up to one week in a ventilated container.

• Cleaning: place berries into a colander. Rinse with cool running water right before eating.

• Preparing: add berries to your favorite oatmeal or yogurt, or mix into a smoothie. Berries can also be a great addition to a summer salad.

Blueberry Pancakes

Ingredients
• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• 1 egg
• 1 cup nonfat milk
• 1 cup fresh blueberries

Instructions:
1. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda together with a fork in a medium bowl.
2. Beat egg and milk together in a small bowl.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
4. Gently fold in blueberries.
5. Heat a skillet over medium low heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
6. Pour pancake batter into the skillet using a ¼ measuring cup. Cook until the pancakes have bubbles on the top and the edges are slightly dry, about four minutes. Flip pancakes and cook for about three minutes more.

Tips
• Use frozen blueberries when fresh ones are out of season. Thaw the frozen blueberries and drain off the juice. Stir in two teaspoons of whole wheat flour.
• Top pancakes with warm fruit instead of pancake syrup.

Serves: 6 | $0.41 per serving
Nutrition information (per serving): 120 calories, 1.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 30mg cholesterol, 160mg sodium, 22g total carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 7g sugar, 5g protein

Berry and Greens Smoothie

Ingredients
• 2 medium bananas
• 2 containers (6 ounces each) nonfat vanilla yogurt
• 3 cups leafy greens, washed (kale or spinach)
• 1 package (16 ounces) frozen berries
• 1 cup nonfat milk

Instructions
1. Put bananas, yogurt, and greens in the blender. Blend until smooth.
2. Add berries to blender. Blend until smooth.
3. Add milk to blender. Blend until smooth.
4. Serve immediately or freeze in individual servings.

Tips
• Add up to 1 cup more of nonfat milk if smoothie is too thick.
• Put frozen smoothies in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours to thaw them before serving. Shake well to mix ingredients before serving.
• Use half of each ingredient to make four servings if this recipe makes too much. This is a good recipe to use over-ripe or frozen bananas.

Serves: 8 | $0.76 per serving
Nutrition information (per serving): 90 calories, 0.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 50mg sodium, 20g total carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 12g sugar, 4g protein

Mini Berry Pie

Ingredients:
• Nonstick cooking spray
• 5 (6-inch) whole wheat tortillas
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 bag (16 ounces) frozen mixed berries (2 ½ cups)
• 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Lay tortillas flat. Spray one side of each tortilla with cooking spray.
4. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle mixture on the tortillas.
5. Place the tortillas in the muffin tin. Fit them into the muffin bowls. The cinnamon and sugar will be on the inside of the bowls. Bake the tortillas for 13 to 15 minutes. They will be light brown and crisp.
6. Put berries in a medium saucepan over low heat.
7. Stir sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add mixture to thawed berries.
8. Cook over medium heat. Mixture will start to get thick and bubble. Cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
9. Put ¼ cup berry filling into each tortilla bowl.

Tips
• Mini pies have a great fresh taste in the middle of winter.
• Make tortilla bowls ahead of time. Store in an airtight container. Do not add filling until serving.
• Add a spoonful of yogurt to the top of the filling.

Serves: 5 | $0.83 per serving
Nutrition information (per serving): 130 calories, 2.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 240mg sodium, 25g total carbohydrates, 11g fiber, 9g sugar, 4g protein