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The Healthy Family Meals Newsletter, Issue #40 -- The Power of Blue in Your Diet
July 07, 2006
Welcome! Learn How to Combine Healthy Recipes with Family Adventure!
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Wasn't it great to meet the Whitney family last week?
In the spirit of celebrating the 4th of July, let's take a poll to see how many of you ate a "flag cake" at your party? I know I ended up enjoying 2 different parties both serving festive "flag cakes" decorated with strawberries and blueberries (and of course, whip cream!).
So the question is -- what fruit is blue in color, a good-for-you super food and known affectionately in the Veggie Tales™ children video series (www.veggiegear.com) as “Madame”?
Madame Blueberry definitely has “bragging rights” as the tiny, berry that has more antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetable.
Ongoing research is showing more and more how blueberries contain powerful disease-fighters that may improve short-term memory, intelligence, night vision and coordination. And if that’s not enough, they also have the ability to help prevent diseases such as cancer, strengthen blood capillaries, ease the pain of arthritis and even slow the aging process.
And blueberries will be coming in season very soon! Take your family out and pick a bucketful!
Try the easy recipe below:
RECIPE OF THE WEEK
WILD BLUEBERRY BRAN MUFFINS
Prep time: 15 minutes
Yield: Makes 36 muffins.
11 oz. (3 cups) bran cereal
2 ½ cups low-fat buttermilk
12 oz. (1 ½ cups) non-fat plain yogurt
12 oz. (3 cups) all-purpose flour
2 ½ Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
3 oz. (¾ cup) wheat germ
6 oz. (¾ cup) egg substitute
¾ cup unsulfured molasses
¾ cup maple syrup
4 oz. (½ cup) brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
18 oz. (3 cups)blueberries
In large bowl combine bran, buttermilk and yogurt; let stand 15 minutes. Reserve.
In separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in wheat germ; reserve.
In another bowl blend egg substitute, molasses, syrup, sugar and oil; stir into bran mixture and mix well.
Add to flour-wheat germ mixture and mix just to moisten. Fold in Wild Blueberries.
Scoop ¼-cup batter into each greased 1/3-cup muffin tin (36 total) and bake in 400°F conventional oven or 375°F convection oven 20-25 minutes or until firm to the touch.
History and Cultivation
Historically, blueberries were considered a commodity to early Native Americans. A type of “blueberry tea” was brewed and used medicinally as a cough medicine and a diarrhea remedy.
North American Indians used blueberries to season pemmican, a mixture of dried meat and fat. During Civil War times many soldiers were forced to live on a type of sweet blueberry beverage to conserve food supplies.
Blueberries were not cultivated until the beginning of the 20th century, becoming commercially available in 1916. Cultivation of blueberries was spearheaded by a botanist at the United States Department of Agriculture who pioneered research into blueberry production.
His work was preceded by Elizabeth White, whose family established the first commercial blueberry fields.
Blueberry shrubs are less than one foot high and produce a tiny cluster of fruits the size of small peas. Some giant varieties of blueberry shrubs can grow to a height of seven feet and produce fruits the size of marbles.
Blueberries belong to the heath family, whose other members include the cranberry and bilberry as well as the azalea, mountain laurel and rhododendron.
Blueberries are native to North America where they grow in the woods and mountainous regions of the United States and Canada. This fruit is rarely found growing in Europe and has only been recently introduced in Australia.
There are about 30 varieties of blueberry plants which include the highbush variety found throughout the Eastern seaboard from Maine to Florida and the lowbush variety throughout the Northeast and Eastern Canada.
The lowbush blueberry is often sweeter and tastier than its relative the highbush blueberry. Blueberries are naturally covered with a thin dull, waxy coating called the bloom and tiny seeds are found inside the sweet flesh of the berry.
Cultivated blueberries are typically mildly sweet, while those that grow wild have a more tart and tangy flavor.
Since blueberries contain several acids, including oxalic, malic and citric acid, as a dietitian, you may be questioned about the interaction between blueberries and their oxalate content.
Individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating large amounts of blueberries. Oxalates may interfere with calcium absorption, so individuals may want to avoid eating blueberries with calcium-rich foods, or if taking calcium supplements, may want to eat them 2-3 hours before or after taking their supplements.
What will your family do for healthier MEALTIMES?
Celebrating Healthy Families 2006
I want to continue to offer an excellent resource in 2006 that will help you save thousands of dollars on GROCERY SHOPPING!
Meet Lana Dorazio whom I consider an "expert" grocery shopper. She has developed a grocery shopping system that you can learn too.
Thanks for reading and have a great week!
Kindy --Your Family Dietitian
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