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    Thursday
    Apr102014

    The Cuter Side of Pie 

    Blueberry Pie is a classic that could never be replaced, but lately I’ve seen a number recipes cropping up for blueberry hand pies. From pie pops to pop tarts, these adorable little berry-filled pockets seem to be all the rage. Don’t go losing your grandmother’s famous Blueberry Lattice Pie recipe, but definitely do take the time to explore these fun treats – they’re a hit when entertaining. Here are three great recipes I’ve come across:

     

    Bon Appetit’s Blueberry Hand Pies

    hand pie 1

     

    Kitchen Heals Soul’s Blueberry Hand Pies

     hand pie2

     

    Foodie Julie’s Blueberry Pie Pops

      hand pie3

     

     Source

    Tuesday
    Apr082014

    Florida farmers turn to blueberries to fill citrus void

    (Photo: tampabay.com)

    The citrus crop may be struggling across Florida, but the blueberry business is booming.

    The amount of farmland planted with blueberries has tripled in the state over the last ten years, the Tampa Bay Times said. The crop this year is expected to reach 25 million pounds. The national leader, Michigan, produced about 87 million pounds in 2012.

    Blueberry farmers in Florida credit the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, which developed about 98 percent of the southern highbush berries that are now grown in the state, the Times said. Growers have described the variety as bigger, better tasting and with a better yield than other types.

    Florida is making most of its money on blueberries sold between March and June. This is the time of year that marks the end of the South American harvest, but is before it is warm enough in the northern U.S. to harvest berries, the Times said.

    Source

    Thursday
    Apr032014

    For Big Results Start Small

    We feel enough pressure from the daily grind, so give yourself a break and start getting healthier by making little changes.  Here are a few things you can do that will help you reach your health goals and make you feel great.

    (blueberrycouncil.org)

    1. Load up on whole fruits and vegetables. While juice is wonderful, it leaves a lot of the good stuff behind. Whole fruits and vegetables contain fiber.  If you want to drink your fruits and veggies, try blending them in a smoothie like this blueberry-avocado one.  Many people are also going on juice fasts in hopes of removing the “toxins” for their body. Your body has its own way of detoxifying itself – it’s called your liver and kidneys.  Focus on adding good things to your diet, like these whole fruits and veggies, rather than worry about “cutting back.”

    2. Get up and move. Aim for 10,000 steps a day and take the stairs. Have you tried a Fit Bit? These nifty bracelets track everything, like the number of steps you take, calories consumed, and sleep patterns.  Of course, if you don’t want something so expensive and elaborate, you can use a simple pedometer that you buy at the drug store. You will be amazed at how often you sit throughout the day, and how much a little extra effort can help increase your number of steps.

    3. Keep a log.  Research shows that keeping a diary of your food intake may help you lose more weight; it can be really eye-opening. Try My Fitness Pal, a website and easy-to-use smartphone app which has a very active and supportive online community. Keeping a log is not only useful for tracking calories and fat consumed, it’s also a great way to see if you are lacking in certain nutrients.

    4. Drink the good stuff. We’ve heard it a million times, but staying hydrated makes a difference, especially when it comes to digestion and keeping energized. My coworkers all try different techniques to make sure they are drinking enough throughout the day.  One uses a small Poland Spring bottle and aims to fill it up at least 8 times a day. Another one keeps a huge water bottle filled at her desk and makes sure to finish it by the end of the work day. Whatever method you choose, a simple system like this helps keep hydration top of mind.

    What little changes have you been making this month? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    Source

    Friday
    Mar282014

    Benefits of Blueberries


    (Photo:Dailyhealthtips)

    Wednesday
    Mar262014

    How to Choose, Store, Wash, and Freeze Blueberries

    To enjoy fresh berries at their finest, they need a bit of extra care. Learn how to choose the best-tasting fruit and how to keep it fresh. Also follow our freezing tips to extend berry season.

    Picking the Best Berries

    While it is a treat that some berries are available in grocery stores year-round, berries are seasonal fruits and will be more plentiful, less expensive, and usually better tasting when in season. In general, berries are best when the weather is warm. When purchasing, select berries that are plump, tender, and bright in color. Avoid containers that are damp or stained, which might be signs of overripe fruit. Remove and discard any moldy or mushy berries so mold won't spread to other berries. If picking your own, select berries that separate easily from their stems. Unlike some fruits, berries generally don't ripen or get sweeter after picking.

    How to Store Berries

    Refrigerate unwashed berries, loosely covered, in a single layer. Heaping them on top of one another can crush the berries. For freezer storage directions, see How to Freeze Berries, below.

    • Blueberries, store in the refrigerator up to five days.

    How to Wash Berries

    Because berries are so delicate, do not wash them until right before you use them, or they can break down and get mushy.

    • do not rinse under running water because the pressure can crush them. Instead, place the berries in a colander and dip them in a bowl of cold water. Gently swish the colander in the water, then allow the berries to drain.

    How to Freeze Berries

    Berries freeze well and can be used frozen for smoothies or thawed for use in baking and sauces. When thawing, berries tend to loose their shape as well as some of their juice, so place freezer bags of berries on a baking sheet or in a bowl to thaw in case the bags leak.

    • Wash the berries and pat dry as directed above. Arrange the whole berries on a baking sheet and freeze until solid or up to a couple of days. This keeps the berries loose and makes measuring and thawing easier.

    Tip: For strawberries, you might want to hull the berries before freezing. If you prefer to slice the strawberries before freezing, omit the freezing step above, which is for whole berries, and freeze as directed below.

    • Transfer the frozen berries to freezer bags or freezer containers. Leave a little space at the top of the bag or container, because the berries might expand a little. Label the bags or containers with the name of the berry, date frozen, and amount.

    Tip: Measure the berries with a measuring cup as you put them in the bags or containers, and write the amount in cups on each bag or container. When you need berries for a recipe, you will know how many you have available.

    • Lay bags of berries flat in the freezer. You can also place the bags on a tray or baking sheet first to assure a flat surface. Add bags or containers of berries to the freezer in batches to make sure they freeze quickly, and leave room around each to allow air to circulate. You can stack the bags or containers once the fruit is frozen.
    • Freeze berries for up to 12 months.

    Freezing with a Sugar Pack

    You can sweeten the berries before freezing. If using strawberries, slice if desired. Place a small amount of fruit in the freezer bag or container and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Repeat the layering, leaving a little space at the top of the bag or container. Cover and let the fruit stand about 15 minutes or until juicy. Seal and freeze as directed above.

    Source