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Blueberries: Nutritious Things Come in Small Packages

This plump summer berry is packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, and a tangy flavor that comes to life in our recipe for blueberry crisp.
By Chloe Thompson
WebMD the Magazine - Feature

Long before Fats Domino was crooning about "Blueberry Hill," Native Americans used the potent fruit to treat coughs. These tiny little gems do indeed pack a potent punch. They rank the highest of any fruit for antioxidants (those free-radical-fighting powerhouses), and one cup delivers 14% of the recommended daily dose of fiber and nearly a quarter of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.

Blueberries are also low in calories -- fewer than 100 for a full cup. They owe their distinct hue to their high anthocyanin content, which gives certain fruits and veggies their deep blues and reds. North America is still the leading producer of this beloved blue fruit, accounting for up to 90% of the world's supply. The berry is celebrated throughout July -- the peak of its harvest -- during National Blueberry Month. And the fruit received an unofficial presidential seal of approval after Ronald Reagan insisted on having blue jelly beans at his inauguration, leading the Jelly Belly company to introduce its blueberry flavor.

Blueberry Nectarine Granola Crisp

Makes 8 servings

Fruit Filling

5 cups blueberries
2 large nectarines, peeled, chopped
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp all-purpose flour (can substitute whole wheat or cake flour)
zest of 1 lemon

Granola Topping

1 1/2 cups regular oats
2 tbsp chopped pecans
2 tbsp chopped almonds
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine the blueberries, nectarines, brown sugar, flour, and lemon zest in a medium bowl;
toss to coat. 
3. Spoon fruit mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish.
4. For the topping, combine all ingredients and toss to evenly coat oat mixture and nuts with syrup.
5. Sprinkle granola over the blueberry nectarine mixture.
6. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt, ice cream, or whipped topping.

Per serving: 241 calories, 5 g protein, 41 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 22 g sugar, and 16 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 28%.

Reviewed on April 22, 2010

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