July 5th, 2012
I have a strange feeling. Very odd, indeed. It seems that I am actually on time!
For what? For blueberry season, of course!
It may sound silly to you, but somehow summer—and all of the gorgeous foods that summer brings—seem to fly by. Apricots are in season one minute and then they are suddenly out. Same with strawberries. I never quite get enough time to make everything I want to make with peak season fruit.
But it’s going to be different this year, at least with blueberries since I’m on top of these babies. I’ve already made a fantastic Blueberry Lemonade (posted over at Momtastic), I’ve bookmarked a bunch of killer blueberry recipes (over at Cool Mom Picks) and I just made this refreshing Blueberry Cucumber Salad.
Yup, blueberries in a savory salad! A first for me. This risotto “of the woods” is the only way I’ve ever enjoyed savory blueberries before.
Do you use blueberries in savory cooking? It’s a damn good way to enjoy them.
And enjoy them you should! Blueberries are packed with good nutrition. They are a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C, and an excellent source of manganese. They also have one of the highest levels of antioxidants among all fruits and veggies. And (yes, there’s more) because of a high density of phytonutrients, the World’s Healthiest Foods has anointed blueberries with “super star status,” even among the healthiest of healthy foods, thanks to “their unique health benefits.”
So, what do you think, you going to join me on this blueberry kick? What are you going to make?
Make a plan, or many, and then hit the farm stand. If they haven’t already, blueberries will be showing up in bushels and bushels any day now. Buy lots, cook lots, and freeze some* so that we can keep the blueberry love going well past the dog days of summer.
Being on time certainly has it’s benefits.
*Note: The key to freezing blueberries is to use unwashed and completely dry berries. Discard ones that are shriveled or smashed and place the rest in a freezer bag. You can pour them in and lay them flat to squeeze out excess air before sealing the bag, or you can put the entire plastic pack that they come in indie the freezer bag. Either way, the berries will freeze individually so that you can easily remove portions as you need them.
Blueberry Cucumber Salad
Can be shared with kids 8+ mos*
1 large cucumber
2 cups (1 pint) fresh blueberries, washed
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta*
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Use the tip of a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Cut seeded cucumber into thin slices.
2. In a large serving bowl, toss cucumber, blueberries, feta, scallion and herbs.
3. In a small bowl, whisk oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.
4. Toss salad with dressing until cukes and berries are well coated. Serve immediately. (If making ahead of time, add fresh cilantro and parsley to dressing instead of tossing with the rest of the salad and store both, separately, in the fridge for up to 24 hours.)
*Note: This is a great dish to share with children already safely managing small chunks. Just be sure to cut cukes and berries into age-approrpiate bite sizes.