Blueberries – the blue jewel! It’s National Blueberry Month!
Red, white and blue – our nation’s colors. Two of those colors are the color of my favorite fruits! What’s better than strawberries and blueberries? Not much in my book. That’s why I take every opportunity to use them in one of my fave, light and easy desserts. Strawberry/Blueberry Shortcake with Whipped Topping. So easy:
Strawberry/Blueberry Shortcake with Whipped Topping
- Slice of angel food cake
- Whipped topping
That’s it! It’s a treat anytime. But especially this time of the year when the brilliance of the colors coincide with the 4th of July. I’ve always got berries on hand ready to go in the freezer if I can’t get them at a reasonable price at the grocery store. I previously wrote a post Confessions of a Blueberry Addict. Yes, I love them that much! And yet also another post I wrote about these little blue jewels. What can I say, but it’s July – National Blueberry Month. I love having them year round because they’re easily available frozen. When thawed they’re nice and juicy. Or I’ll mix the fresh with the frozen.
Surely you’ve heard how good berries are, but why? For similar, yet different reasons. Like most plant-based foods they’re terrific sources of the disease-fighting plant compounds called phytochemicals or phytonutrients. Strawberries contain flavonoids believed to have protective benefits as well as other nutrients like folate, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. My colleague, registered dietitian nutritionist and “Guy-a-titian” Dave Grotto, author of 101 Foods That Can Save Your Life states that “The plant nutrients found in strawberries, particularly polyphenols, have antioxidant capabilities that can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. These two harmful processes have been linked to major challenges to our health. Polyphenols help to protect and repair cells.”
45 pounds of blueberries!
And then there are blueberries. I remember as a kid going blueberry picking in the Midwest. One beautiful summer afternoon my mom, brother Mark and I brought home 45 pounds of blueberries! And that’s just what we had to pay for—we picked considerably more. I can only imagine how many ended up in my belly. I’m surprised I still love blueberries as much as I do—I ate so many that day. We washed them, dried them and packed them in the freezer. Year round we would have wonderful blueberry treats. They were great to munch on straight from the freezer since they froze like marbles.
Little did I know those succulent little blue things were going to end up being such a super great food. They contain a different phytochemical than strawberries called anthocyanins which gives them their beautiful rich blue color. They’re also good sources of resveratrol also found in grapes and red wine. Like the polyphenols in strawberries, these phytochemicals are also disease-fighting antioxidants.
If those aren’t enough reasons to eat these nutrient-rich powerhouse fruits July is National Blueberry Month!
Do YOU share my passion for berries? What’s your favorite berry dessert or treat?
Original post: July 2, 2015 and updated July 4, 2019
Jennifer “Neily” Neily, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist | Wellcoach® Certified Health Coach