Christmas is one of the few occasions in a year that people take the time to bake. When the snow starts to fly, I fondly recall July trips to the farmers’ market and then dip into the deep freeze to crack out my precious wild Canadian blueberries.
It is so wonderful that frozen wild blueberries can provide better nutrition then the old limp imports that sit around in the produce aisle far too long. The best part about this pie recipe: it doesn’t cook the goodness out of the berries because you make the base and then add the berries on top, preserving the fantastic vitamin C.
Five reasons why you should run out and buy some wild Canadian blueberries.
1. Blueberries can ease the pain of arthritis. Molecules in blueberries provide the building blocks for an antioxidant known as SOD, superoxide dismutase. SOD is important in disarming the most harmful of free radicals our bodies – specifically the nasty free radicals that like to break down the synovial fluid that lubricates our joints.
2. Blueberries improve your memory. Research show that flavanoids in blueberries decrease the risk of age-related memory decline by protecting the area of the brain that houses memory. Kaempferol is a specific flavanoid shown to exercise protection of neural tissue and may be helpful in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Blueberries are packed with pectin, a great soluble fibre. Science shows that pectin has an effect on cardiovascular health by preventing the thickening of arterial walls. It is the thickening of arteries along with plaque build-up that makes arteries narrow, which affects blood pressure and eventually leads to cardiovascular disease.
4. Blueberries are an excellent source of manganese. We need very little quantities of this mineral so we always get it from our food, but the small amounts do a big job! Manganese is necessary for bone growth and synthesis of new bone in growing children. It can also aid in repairing bones in cases of damage such as a break or fracture.
5. Blueberries are a great source of the always wonderful vitamin C: Blueberries can help our bodies resist the physical signs of aging such as wrinkles and saggy skin as Vitamin C is extremely important in the synthesis of collagen – the connective tissue that gives our skin its youthful elasticity.
Blueberry Bliss Pie Recipe
Raspberries and blueberries are all loaded with salicylic acid — the same heart disease fighter found in Aspirin.
2 cups (500 mL) apple juice
1/4 cup (60 mL) agar flakes
1/3 cup (85 mL) arrowroot flour
3/4 cup (180 mL) honey
4 cups (1 L) raspberries or blueberries (frozen works well)
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) crushed pecans
1. Bring apple juice and agar flakes to a rolling boil in an uncovered pot.
2. As soon as the juice comes to a boil, turn heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes to dissolve the agar. Meanwhile, whisk the arrowroot into the honey in a medium-sized bowl.
3. When agar is fully dissolved, pour the honey and arrowroot mixture into the pot. Whisk until thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add fresh or thawed raspberries or blueberries and allow to cool.
4. Line a 10 inch springform pan with crushed pecans. Pack with a spoon before adding pie filling. Refrigerate for 2 hours until set. Makes 8 to 12 servings.
Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts the Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her soon to be published first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process.
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