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July is National Blueberry Month

July was designated as National Blueberry Month on May 8, 1999, by the US Department of Agriculture.  Blueberries are grown in 35 states in the US.  Ninety percent of all the blueberries in the world are produced in the US.  Blueberries have been used in soups, stews and desserts for many years.  Based on Ark-LA-Tex, Native Americans taught the pilgrims to use blueberries in a number of different ways.  Blueberries were dried in the sun and ground into a powder.  The powder was then used to make a pudding called Sautauthig, and as a spice for meats.

Native Americans also believed that blueberries were good for your health.  They made a blueberry tea to help relax women during childbirth.  They used leaves from the blueberry bush to make a blood purifier that was good for the kidneys.  And, they use blueberry juice for coughs.

Modern medicine has confirmed the health benefits of blueberries.  It was recently discovered that similar to cranberry juice, blueberries help prevent infections in the urinary tract.  They can prevent macular degeneration.  And, they’re also an antioxidant.  Antioxidants are known to reduce chances of getting cancer and heart disease.  Blueberries are known to have the highest antioxidant level.  Three and one half ounces of blueberries are equal to 1,700 IU’s of vitamin E.

In celebration of National Blueberry Month, we thought we’d give you a couple of blueberry recipe ideas.  One great blueberry recipe is for blueberry sherbet.  This should keep you cool on hot summer days.

Blueberry sherbet

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup fat-free buttermilk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • for garnish fresh mint sprig

Directions

Blend the first five ingredients until smooth.  Pour it into a 9-inch square pan. Then cover it and freeze it for four hours or until it’s firm.  Then process the frozen mixture in a blender until it’s smooth.  You should do this in batches.  Then recover it and freeze it for four more hours.  Serve it with an ice cream scoop and add the garnish.

Here’s another delicious blueberry recipe.

Lemon Blueberry cream pie

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups of Graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 3.4 ounce package of lemon instant pudding mix
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • ½ cup of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pint of fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons of blueberry preserves
  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • lemon slices and fresh blueberries for garnish

Directions

Stir the first three ingredients together.  Then press it evenly into the bottom and the sides of a 9 inch pie plate.  Bake the pie crust at 350° for 8 minutes.  Then remove it to a wire rack and let it cool completely.  Beat the cheese, milk, and powdered sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Add the pudding mix, lemon rind, and lemon juice.  Then beat until blended.  Spread half of the lemon mixture evenly into the prepared crust.  Stir the blueberries and preserves together and spread them over the lemon mixture.  Spread remaining lemon mixture over the blueberry mixture.  Then cover and chill it for two hours or until it’s set.  Beat the whipping cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.   Spread the whipped cream around the outer edge of the pie to form a 3 inch border.  Then add the garnish.

Source: www.blueberry.orgwww.myrecipes.com

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