Blueberry season in North Carolina is upon us, lasting from June through August, making it the ideal time to pick up a pint (or three) at your favorite grocery store, berry farm or farmers market.
Blueberries are one of the few foods that are naturally blue in color, owing their hue to a compound called anthocyanin, part of a larger category of plant-based chemicals called flavonoids. Luckily, you don’t have to know how to pronounce “anthocyanin” to know that it’s good for you.
The compound has many protective and anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. Blueberries possess fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and potassium, and have only 80 calories per cup. On top of all this, they’re sweet-tart and fun to eat, too.
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That’s a lot to appreciate about a little berry. Each year, the town of Burgaw, North Carolina, the home of Novant Health Pender Medical Center, celebrates blueberries and local blueberry growers with the North Carolina Blueberry Festival. This year, the 20th anniversary festival will take place June 16 and 17. Highlighting the versatility of the blueberry, the festival includes a recipe contest with several categories, from breakfasts to main dishes to beverages and pretty much everything in between.
While blueberries are in season this summer, enjoy their natural sweetness in this healthy dessert. The recipe makes a batch large enough to bring new your next cookout, and you can store leftovers in your fridge.
Healthy Blueberry Crisp
Adapted from the recipe by Mercedes Sandoval at Tasty.co
Preheat the oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Wash and dry the blueberries. Place them in a medium-sized glass baking dish. Add the two teaspoons lemon juice and stir. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Stir until the blueberries are coated with cornstarch. Combine the dry crumble topping ingredients in a bowl. Add the melted coconut oil and 1/2 cup maple syrup. Mix until combined. Spread the topping across the blueberries. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the blueberries start to burst. Allow to cool before serving. (Can be served chilled or room temperature.) In a separate bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt, vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Drizzle this over top the blueberry crisp immediately before serving.
Yield: 8 servings. Per serving: 404 calories; 14.5g fat (6.6g saturated fat); 2mg cholesterol; 43mg sodium; 54.4g carbohydrates; 5.7g dietary fiber; 25.6g sugar; 17.8g protein.