Tag Archives | blueberry recipes

Low Carb Summer Dishes with Fresh Blueberries

Something with blueberries.  Something easy, quick low carb and flavorful…that’s what rattles around in my head for dinner on a steamy hot humid day.  Even with air conditioning on inside, it just seems wrong to turn on the oven.  Here are three of my favorite low carb summer dishes to make with blueberries:  a low carb chicken salad for dinner, some blueberry rum Popsicles for dessert, and a blueberry protein smoothie for the next day’s breakfast.  Lucky me that I have a blueberry farm!  Lucky you that blueberries freeze easily and can be great year round!

low carb summer

Blueberry Chicken Summer Salad

While this blueberry chicken salad by itself was filling enough for me as a low carb summer dinner, my family thinks they need several courses when we sit down to the table.  As soon as I put this out I hear, “Is that all we’re having?”…”well, it looks good for an appetizer”….”I’m starving!”.

So…if you’re making this blueberry dish as dinner for a family like mine that thinks they’re undernourished, you might want to add another side of sorts.  I sautéed some summer squash in butter and mint and they were happy and satisfied in the end.  It’s a great dish for a low carb summer lunch if you don’t like salad for dinner.

Blueberry Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3 chicken breasts halves, skin on
  • 2 carrots, shredded with grater,
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cups torn salad greens
  • 1  to 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Directions:

  1. Whisk together first 3 ingredients with salt and pepper and pour into large plastic bag.
  2. Add chicken breasts to bag and massage bag so the marinade covers chicken pieces.  Let marinate for about an hour
  3. Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade.  Grill chicken breasts over med-high to high heat for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until done (depends on how thick your chicken breasts are).
  4. Combine carrots, celery, onions and pepper with your favorite salad dressing, tossing to coat.
  5. Place chicken over greens.  Top with vegetable/dressing mixture, and sprinkle with berries.

 Low Carb Summer:  Blueberry Rumsicles:

Blueberry Popsicles

Blueberry Rumsicles

These blueberry Popsicles   (with or without rum) are great fun to take to a party, or have outside or at the lake.  They’re ever-so-easy, a good way to use up any leftover jam in the fridge, and they keep you cool and happy.

Ingredients & Directions:

  • 1 cup blueberry jam (low sugar if possible)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 oz. rum
  1. In a medium saucepan, add about 2 cups of water for every cup of your favorite jam (I used Blueberry Lime Mint), and melt mixture over low heat.  If the jam is fairly sweet you will want to add more water, both to make it taste more like an ice pop, but also to help it freeze better as too much sugar will prevent the Popsicles from freezing solid.
  2. Cool and pour into Popsicle molds and freeze for 6 hours or until frozen hard.
  3. For a fun adult Popsicle treat, after the jam mix has melted, add 2 oz. rum or vodka for every 3 cups of jam mix.to the pot before pouring into molds.  Just don’t add too much or they won’t freeze as the alcohol will change the freezing point.
  4. If you don’t have Popsicle molds, place 6-10 dixie cups in a shallow square pan, cover tops of cups with aluminum foil, and poke a Popsicle stick or sturdy stir stick through the foil in the center of each dixie cup (the foil will hold the sticks upright).

Low Carb Summer Smoothies: Blueberry-Mint:

low carb summer

Blueberry-Mint Smoothies

Blueberry smoothies were my kids’ favorite lunch during the summer, until they became teenagers and started thinking it was too much like a milkshake and therefore too high in calories.  I make them now with protein powder and unsweetened coconut milk for myself every morning for a low carb breakfast.  And when the adult “kids” are home these days I’ll make one for them also.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • a handful of fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 scoop protein powder (I like Premier brand)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds.
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes and 1/2 to 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves (optional)

Directions:

Add everything in a blender and blend until smooth.  Add more water to thin it out if it is thicker than you like.  Add more ice to thicken it up.

low carb summer

Blueberries from HeathGlen in July

Freezing Blueberries:

Remember, blueberries freeze really nicely.  Just pour them (unwashed) on a cookie sheet, freeze till solid, and pour in freezer bags for use throughout the year.

 

 

 

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Making Fruit Syrups & Shrubs for Refreshing Summer Drinks & Cocktails

 

Blueberry Shrub Vodka Martini

Blueberry Shrub Vodka Martini

Our farm is small (23 acres), but it is amazing the amount of small fruit that you can grow on that amount of land. We started with blueberries 12 years ago, and have been adding various new fruits every year. Some have not worked out too well (kiwis, saskatoons, blackberries), but what we grow now through survival of the fittest includes currants, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, elderberries, chokecherries, gooseberries, sour cherries, rhubarb, and heirloom tomatoes.

I love, love fruit and love working with fruit. There is so much versatility in what you can do with fruit — I sometimes feel as if I’m racing against time to try all of the ideas I run across or dream up. I wondered the other day if the term “creative Juices” originated from someone who was working with fruit?

Anyway, the obsession with this year’s fruit is making beverage syrups. I got one of those wonderful SodaStream Genesis makers that are so popular in Europe and started adding fruit syrups to the carbonated water it makes. Made me feel ever so tres chic I must admit, but it happened to be incredibly good also. Stepping it up a notch from carbonated water and into the cocktail realm was even better. My cocktails of choice for the syrups include champagne cocktails & mojitos . If you’re into the mixology scene you can go wild with imaginative drinks. For me, my soda stream, a lemonade, iced tea, and an occasional “Blueberry Rumba” is making this hot, humid summer bearable.

One other interesting drink that’s surprisingly refreshing is an old-fashioned “berry shrub”. A shrub is essentially a fruit syrup drink with vinegar added. Sound weird? It was a very popular drink in the colonial era when refrigeration wasn’t available and vinegar could act as a preservative. It also provided the acidity to a drink when fresh citrus wasn’t available and offered the taste of summer in those bleak winters. The fruit and sugar really mellow out the vinegar taste and it’s really quite wonderful.

Here are the recipes for Blueberry Syrup and Blueberry Shrub followed by some drink recipes of how to use them:

Blueberry Tarragon Syrup:

juicing the berries

 

1) Juice the blueberries by simmering in a large pot over med-low heat with 1/4 cup water until they are soft and the juices run (about 15 min.).  You’ll get about 1 cup of juice for every 2 cups berries

straining the juice

2) Strain the juice through cheesecloth or a jelly bag.  A piece of nylon tulle placed in a strainer works as well as cheesecloth and doesn’t take as long. If you want the juice to be perfectly clear (as you would for a jelly), don’t push the pulp through the strainer. I don’t think clarity matters with a syrup, so I would push as much juice through the strainer as possible to get the maximum juice from your berries. (in our kitchen we use a commercial juicer that we ordered from Sweden)

3) Measure the juice and for every cup of juice measure equal amounts of cups of pure cane sugar. Many syrup companies use corn syrup as a thickener. You don’t need a thick syrup for beverages. If you want to make a thick pancake syrup, you can add a little pectin when you boil it up.

*note: commercial pectin is not an unhealthy additive; it is only dried citrus rind/pith or apple, standardized by testing the rind and adding enough sugar to the pectin so it works the same each application. Much worse to add corn syrup in my mind.

infusing the herbs

 

4)  Tie some sprigs of fresh tarragon (mint is also good) in a cheesecloth bag (around a cup of tarragon for every 4-6 cups of juice). Pour the juice into a large pot and add the bag of tarragon. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot, turn off the heat and let the tarragon infuse into the juice for about 20 minutes.

add to sparkling water and enjoy!

 

5) Remove the tarragon, add the sugar to the pot and bring to a boil, slowly, making sure all of the sugar is dissolved.  I usually add some fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice at this point, but it is optional.

6) Ladle into jars or bottles using a funnel; let cool and then refrigerate.  Stir in, to taste, to your favorite beverages

 

Basic Berry Shrub Recipe:

Combine 1 part apple cider vinegar, and 1 part pure cane sugar to 2 parts berries (or any kind of fruit). Bring ingredients to a slow boil, to dissolve the sugar. Stir. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into a glass bottle. This is the quick way to make a shrub syrup. When we make them for market we let the berries steep in the sugar in the refrigerator for 3 days, strain, add vinegar and cover. It’s a little more complex that way, but the quick way is fine.

*Update:  for another shrub recipe using plums, cinnamon & orange zest, please see a new guest post that I put up over at Soda Stream’s blog, called Ms Fizz

Adding to carbonated water, lemonade, sparkling wine drinks:

 
The question I always get at markets is how much to use, and well……that depends really on how sweet you like your drink, which berry syrup you’re using, and what kind of drink you’re flavoring. With a glass of lemonade or sparkling wine I would probably add 2-3 Tablespoons of the Blueberry Tarragon Syrup. In carbonated water or mineral water I might add more to get a higher flavor profile.

By the way, these syrups are also great drizzled over fruit salads, pound cake, ice cream, or used with vinegar in a salad dressing. OK, here’s the cocktail recipes I promised:

Good Summer Cocktails with the Syrups:
Cabana Shrub
• 1-1/2 oz. white rum
• 1 oz. Blueberry Shrub Syrup
• 1/8 oz. lime juice
• 1 oz. Ginger Ale
Technique: Build in a short ice-filled glass. Top with ginger ale. Add garnish.

Blueberry Rumba Cocktail:
• 1 oz white rum
• 1/2 oz dark rum
• 1/4 oz triple sec
• 14 oz blue Curacao liqueur
• 3/4 oz blueberry syrup
• 2 oz. pineapple juice
• 2 oz lemonade
Technique: Shake liquors, syrup & juice in a shaker and strain into an ice-filled glass. Add lemonade.

R & B Cocktail
• 1 1/2 oz Gin
• 3/4 oz Blueberry Shrub
• 1/2 oz Lillet (this is an aperitif wine which blends Bordeaux wines and citrus – you can substitute white vermouth if you like)
• dash of orange bitters
Technique: Shake with ice and strain into cocktail glass

Enjoy!

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