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Cheer up by celebrating National Blueberry Month

If any fruit deserves a commemorative month, it's the blueberry. Luckily, that's already been determined. Officially, July is National Blueberry Month. All we have to do now is observe it.

Blueberries are not only tasty, but also nutritious. They are high in antioxidants and sources of vitamins A and C and potassium. Blueberries are also low in fat.

Though fresh blueberries are typically available from mid-April to October, the height of the harvest is in July. This year, celebrate the bounty of blueberries by buying a few pints of them.

In addition to eating blueberries by the handful, try adding them to some new recipes. We've provided some suggestions to get you started.

Blueberry Cheesecake

for Calorie Counters

3 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs

2 containers (6 ounces each) low-fat vanilla yogurt

1 cup fat-free cottage cheese

4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1⁄2 cup egg substitute

Blueberry Sauce (recipe at right)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and side of a 9-inch pie plate with vegetable cooking spray. Sprinkle pie plate with graham cracker crumbs and tilt to coat evenly.

Place a coffee filter or two layers of paper towels in a strainer. Stir one container of the yogurt and spoon it into the filter. Set it aside to drain, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend the remaining container of yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese and cornstarch until smooth. Add the eggs and pulse until combined. Carefully pour mixture into the crumb-coated pie plate and smooth the top. Bake until set in the center, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the Blueberry Sauce. When pie is set, spread the drained yogurt over the top; bake 5 minutes longer. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Chill until cold. Serve with Blueberry Sauce.

Makes 8 servings.

Blueberry Sauce

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

2 tablespoons sugar (or granulated non-nutritive sweetener)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

In a medium-size saucepan, over medium heat, stir the fresh or frozen blueberries with the sugar (or granulated non-nutritive sweetener), lemon juice and water until berries are soft, about 5 minutes. Chill.

Source: U.S. Highbush

Blueberry Council

Blueberry and Citrus

Sorbet Layer Cake

1⁄2 cup finely chopped walnuts

1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons blueberry preserves or jam, divided

1 pint orange sorbet, slightly softened

1 pint lemon or other citrus sorbet, slightly softened

1 cup fresh blueberries

Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch by 4 -inch loaf pan with a double layer of waxed paper, folding the paper to fit smoothly. In a small bowl, stir together walnuts and 1⁄4 cup of the blueberry preserves; set aside.

Spoon orange sorbet into the lined pan, smoothing the top to make an even layer. Spread the reserved walnut-preserves mixture evenly over the orange sorbet. Spoon the lemon sorbet evenly over the preserves and smooth the top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Freeze several hours or overnight.

Just before serving, in a medium bowl, stir remaining 2 tablespoons preserves until smooth; fold in fresh blueberries. Invert the cake onto a chilled serving plate. Remove the pan and waxed paper from cake. Spoon about one-fourth of the blueberry mixture down the center of the cake.

Cut the cake into 8 (1-inch) slices. Serve on chilled dessert plates and top each slice with a spoonful of the remaining fresh berry mixture. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Blueberry Dessert Pizza

1 (10-inch) flour tortilla

1⁄2 teaspoon butter, softened

3 teaspoons sugar, divided

1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄2 cup whipped cream cheese

1⁄2 cup fresh blueberries

1⁄2 cup mixed fruit (such as grape halves and mandarin oranges)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place tortilla on an ungreased baking sheet and spread with butter. In a cup, combine 1 teaspoon of the sugar and the cinnamon. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the tortilla.

Bake tortilla until edges just begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes; remove and place on a serving plate. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar with the cream cheese. Spread evenly over the crisp tortilla. Arrange blueberries and other fruit on top. Cut in 4 wedges and serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council