True Blue

hh blue1By OLIVIA BITETTI  |  Photos By KIMBERLY COOK

Blueberries are pea-sized powerhouses bursting with health benefits. Boasting the highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit, it’s no wonder they’re honored with a month-long celebration. July is National Blueberry Month — and coincidentally National Ice Cream Month. You could celebrate by popping a few navy-colored berries into your mouth, or you could throw a party for your taste buds by combining the two into one cleverly cool summer treat.

Blueberry Vanilla Yogurt Popsicles

(10 servings, 75 calories per popsicle)

INGREDIENTS: 

•  3 ½ cups low-fat vanilla yogurt

•  2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

•  1 tbs. agave nectar or honey

PREP: 

•  In a small bowl, combine agave nectar or honey and blueberries.

•  Combine blueberry mixture and 2 cups yogurt in a blender; blend until smooth.

•  Evenly distribute the remaining 1 ½ cups yogurt in popsicle molds to achieve the two-tone look. Finish filling the molds with the blueberry mixture, layering it on top of the yogurt.

•  Freeze for four to 24 hours or until popsicles are frozen through.

TIPS:

•  Run frozen popsicles under warm water for 20 seconds before removing them from molds.

•  Don’t have a popsicle mold? Get creative with plastic cups or shot glasses.

•  Use tinfoil to seal molds and hold popsicle sticks in place.

•  Fill a Ziploc bag with the yogurt or blueberry mixture, seal bag and cut a small hole in a corner to make filling the molds quick, easy and mess-free.


Berry Beneficial

Belly fat fighters  •  Antioxidant abundance  •  Promote urinary tract health

Prevent aging from the inside out  •  Lower risk of heart disease and cancer

Low glycemic index (GI)  •  High in fiber, vitamins C and K  •  Only 84 calories per cup

Berry Good Tips

Blueberry season in Central New York starts around the second week of July and runs through August — weather permitting. Paul Hafner of Hafner’s U-Pick Farm in Baldwinsville offers some tips to picking the perfect berry:

1. Look for firm, richly blue-hued berries

2. Sample a few from one bush and pick it clean if you are happy with the sweetness

3. Bigger berries aren’t necessarily better — they will fill your bucket faster, though

4. Tie your bucket with a rope and hang it around your neck with the bucket at waist level to free up your hands for more efficient picking

5. Use your thumb to roll the blueberry free from the bush

6. Store fresh berries in an unsealed container to avoid moisture buildup

7. Chill berries immediately after picking to increase shelf life

8. Fresh-picked blueberries will stay fresh (when stored properly) for 10 to 14 days

9. Do not wash blueberries before freezing to avoid skin toughening

10. Rinse frozen or fresh berries in cold water just before using or eating

Hafner’s best piece of advice? Get the berries before the birds do! For family recipes, up-to-date picking conditions and more, visit the farm’s Facebook page, Facebook.com/hafnerfarms.

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