It’s December – party season has begun.
The inevitable excess of eating and drinking this month means we’ve got to give our health a boost, and delicious, plump Chilean blueberries are the best way to do this. Here are four reasons to try them this winter:
These little superfoods are packed with more antioxidants than many other fruits and vegetables such as oranges, rocket and spinach. These antioxidants, called flavonoids, mop up the damaging free radicals that are created by cocktails, other alcoholic drinks and unhealthy canapés.
They give you a boost throughout the day. A recent study has shown that the flavonoids in blueberries activate an enzyme in the body called Enos which stimulates the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain, and keeping your mind fresh. Just two handfuls of blueberries contain 14% of an adult’s daily requirement for manganese, an element that’s essential for releasing energy. Including blueberries at breakfast time or in a mid-morning smoothie gives an energy boost without the dehydrating properties of coffee that is the usual pick-me-up for the 3pm slump.
Blueberries are a juicy, tasty way to keep hydrated. Key to maintaining good skin during the festive season, which can take a hit from too many late nights, is hydration. Hydration is essential to our health as every cell, tissue and organ needs water to work at its optimum. The vitamin C in blueberries also helps keep our skin healthy by producing collagen. Just one portion provides almost 25% of an adult’s RDA
Naturally low in fat, saturates and salt, Chilean blueberries are also really adaptable. Add them to Bircher muesli, cereals, and salads, or simply eaten straight from the punnet. Available to buy in stores now.
Below are two delicious mouth watering recipes using Blueberries:
We all love caramel oranges but caramel blueberries are even more delicious. Chill well and swirl through crème fraiche and Greek yogurt. If you can’t wait for them to cool, serve warm spooned over scoops of good vanilla ice cream for a great, speedy dessert.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 9-10 minutes
150g (5oz) caster sugar
3 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons boiling water
150g (5oz) Chilean blueberries
250ml (8fl oz) pot full fat crème fraiche
250g (9oz) pot natual Greek yogurt
WHAT TO DO:
Add the sugar and the cold water to a medium frying pan and heat very gently, stirring only occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved – about 5 minutes. Increase the heat and boil for 3-4 minutes without stirring until the syrup thickens and then begins to turn golden around the edges. Watch very closely as the syrup begins to colour and tilt the pan gently from time to time to even this colour out. Cook for a minute or two more until golden all over.
Take the pan off the heat and add the boiling water, remembering to stand well back as the syrup will spit. As soon as the bubbles begin to subside, tilt the pan to mix the syrup with the extra water.Add the blueberries and cook for 1 minute or until the juices just begin to run from the blueberries, then leave to cool. Stir the crème fraiche and Greek yogurt together in a bowl and chill until needed.
When ready to serve, add alternate spoonfuls of the yogurt mixture and the caramelized blueberries to 4 serving glasses. Serve like this or for a marbled effect, run a small knife or handle of a teaspoon through each dessert to swirl together.
Cook’s tip: Resist the urge to stir the syrup as it boils or you may find that it will crystallise into a solid white mass. If this happens, clean the pan and begin again.
BLUEBERRY BIRCHER MUESLI
First developed by a Swiss doctor back in the 1890’s, this easy, super healthy breakfast can be mixed together the night before, then left in the fridge to soak in a plastic container or smaller individual ones if that suits you better. Stir in grated apple and top generously with blueberries, honey and nuts and you’re good to go.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
500g (1lb 2oz) tub Greek yogurt
200g (7oz) rolled oats
40g (11/2oz) wheat germ
40g (11/2oz) desiccated coconut
50g (2oz) hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
200ml (7fl oz) pressed (cloudy) apple juice
To serve per portion
½ Granny Smith apple, cored but not peeled, coarsely grated
50g (2oz) Chilean blueberries
1 tsp runny honey
Little ground cinnamon
Few extra chopped hazelnuts, optional
WHAT TO DO:
Mix the yogurt, oats and wheat germ in a bowl then stir in the coconut, toasted hazelnuts and apple juice. Transfer to a plastic container, clip on the lid and chill overnight in the fridge.
When ready to serve, stir in grated apple and a few blueberries then spoon into dishes, top with extra blueberries, a drizzle of honey, a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and a few extra nuts, if liked. The remaining soaked muesli will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days, just add a little apple juice if needed, as the oats will continue to swell.Cook’s tip
TIP: If you are not a fan of nuts or have a nut allergy then simply leave them out. If you are allergic to yogurt made with cow’s milk then use goat’s milk or soak in soya milk instead.
Recipe from www.seasonalberries.co.uk/
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