Monday, July 23, 2012

Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

All over the US blueberries are in season.  Sadly, that ship has sailed here in Florida.  We had our blueberry boom here in May and it was very short lived due to lack of cold weather this year.  While I love to eat local, I also love me some blueberries and so do my kids.  We normally eat them strait up and they rarely make it into any dishes.  But I bought these bad boys especially for this recipe.

For some reason I’ve been dreaming of a blueberry salad.  Since there are still a plethora of organic blueberries in the store I had to make it happen.  The combination of blueberries, lemon and balsamic vinegar was just what I was dreaming of! 

You might have heard that eating blueberries is good for you.  But you probably don’t know all the ways this special berry can benefit your body.  From a nutritional perspective, blueberries are high in fiber and vitamins C and K, supporting your digestive and immune systems.

Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant capacities of all berries.  These antioxidants have been shown to be extremely beneficial to several body systems including cardiovascular, nervous, muscular and digestive systems.  In studies the antioxidants found in blueberries mitigated damage caused by oxidative stress.

One of the really interesting things about the amazing blueberry is its potential to improve memory.  Studies have shown that consuming large quantities of blueberries has increased the memory function.  Ina addition, they have the potential slow memory problems associated with aging! Blueberries are also being studied for their abilities to prevent cancer.

If you are a Type 2 diabetic you can also benefit from regular blueberry consumption.  Blueberries have been shown to help regulate blood sugar.

For more information on this tiny but powerful fruit you can check out this website.

Blueberries are best consumed raw to preserve the antioxidants.  The good news is that freezing does not affect these levels so you can stock up when they are in season!  Remember to choose organic blueberries or berries from a no-spray farm to avoid high pesticide levels.  Blueberries were listed #11 on the EWG’s dirty dozen pesticide list.

If you buy (or pick) organic you’ll also get an added antioxidant benefit- organic berries have been shown to have higher levels of these!

Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

¾ cup fresh blueberries
¼ cup olive oil
1/8 cup water
1 tsp honey
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp lemon zest
juice from half a lemon
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Serve immediately.

Note:  the pectin from the blueberries will thicken the dressing after a few minutes.  If you need to thin it, add a little water and whisk.

This dressing is awesome over any salad, but tomorrow I'll share the Summer Blueberry Salad I made to go with it!

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