“Blueberries as big as the end of your your thumb,

Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum

In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!”

—Robert Frost

Freshly picked blueberries are so perfectly luscious, filled with a unique blend of slightly tart to sublimely sweet flavor. New England summers are brief, as is the season for fresh local blueberries, so be sure to bring home plenty of these beautiful berries to grace your summer table.

Blueberries are wonderfully colorful, the deep dusky blue tinged with just a whisper of white, adding gorgeous goodness to a bowlful of cereal, a yogurt-based smoothie, and will help create a radiant rainbow when combined with scarlet strawberries, blush-pink watermelon, deep-yellow mango and pale green grapes as a stunning summer fruit platter.

Blueberries have long been revered as a captivating component in baked goods, such as pies, cobblers, crisps, grunts, buckles, breads, tarts, scones and muffins. Summer Sundays are just a bit more fabulous when blueberry pancakes and fresh blueberry syrup are on the breakfast menu. Cooked and strained blueberries can be combined with sugar and water to create a spectacular simple syrup for summer cocktails.

Far from being just a purveyor of sugary flavor, blueberries also shine in savory dishes, when blended into a sensational salsa to serve with grilled pork, or cooked down slowly with vinegar and hot pepper until a spicy sweet jam forms to serve with cheese and crackers, even blended into smooth and scintillating soups.

Not just a beautiful and versatile ingredient, blueberries are a powerful source of potent nutrition. Bursting with immune-enhancing antioxidants such as vitamin C, B-complex, selenium, zinc  and iron, blueberries may have the power to actually prevent colds, fever, viral and bacterial diseases, as well as provide superlative eye health protection.

Just like their cousin the cranberry, blueberries also provide protection from urinary tract infections. The high fiber content in blueberries helps improve digestion and may be successful in preventing heart disease. Consuming a significant amount of blueberries on a regular basis may potentially help reduce belly fat and blueberries may even help reduce depression.

When purchasing blueberries from the supermarket or local farmer’s market, look for uniformly blue color and shake the container gently. If the berries move about freely, they are most likely sweet, firm and flavorful.  You can store your berries in the refrigerator for up to several days, do not wash until ready to use.

Enjoy the berry, berry goodness of fresh blueberries as you prepare your delicious life!

Blueberry Salsa

2 cups roughly chopped fresh blueberries

1 cup fresh whole blueberries

1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice

3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

1/3 cup diced red pepper

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Mix all ingredients together in a medium size bowl. Let rest for about a half hour, then serve with grilled pork, scallops or chicken breast or serve with toasted pita chips or tortilla chips.

Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP is a passionate food and wellness professional who earned her certification in holistic health counseling from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University Teacher’s College. She earned her cooking experience in the kitchen! Robin specializes in teaching healthy cooking classes to children  and adults utilizing fresh, natural ingredients and super simple, extra delicious recipes. She also conducts cooking demonstrations for many local organizations and is available for cooking parties and private instruction as well. For more information go to www.theconsciouscook.net. 

Robin’s blog is confessionsofaconsciouscook.blogspot.com