So many reasons to celebrate in July… The 4th of July, National Hot Dog Month, National Ice Cream Month, National Watermelon Month, Jackfruit Day (also July 4th), National Chocolate Day (July 7th), International Cake Day (July 20th), and NATIONAL BLUEBERRY MONTH! July means summer and blueberry season are in full-swing in North America. April marks the start of blueberry season, but the long, hot days of summer are when blueberries thrive.
What do blueberries have to offer? One cup of blueberries is just 80 calories, has 3.6 grams of fiber and provides 25% of daily Vitamin C needs. Blueberries are also a good source of manganese- a nutrient that plays a vital role in the processing of cholesterol, carbohydrates, and protein.
What’s there to celebrate? So many things! The summer staple is small and mighty when it comes to health benefits. Blueberries help support brain health, heart health, blood-sugar control, and their antioxidant content helps support cancer prevention.
Anthocyanin, the phytochemical that gives blueberries their vibrant blue-purple color is one of the main antioxidants in blueberries. According the American Institute on Cancer Research, this powerful antioxidant decreases free-radical damage and plays a role in the prevention of mouth, breast, colon, and prostate cancer. The fiber content of blueberries also aids in colorectal cancer prevention.
National Blueberry Month + the Fourth of July is the perfect excuse to make a fruit pizza. Blueberries go perfect on top of the cream cheese-frosting covered, sugar cookie crust (I personally take the easy way out and buy pre-made sugar cookie dough to save some time). Topping the pizza with strawberries and blueberries is the perfect way to show off your patriotic side when celebrating the fourth. You can throw them on top in no specific order, or you can lay them out in a star-spangled pattern.
Fruit pizza is a go-to for me to take to family gatherings, birthdays, potlucks, etc. and I have taken a festive Fourth of July one to a family party but I have no proof. The closest I can get to proving my patriotism via fruit pizza is my Seahawks vs The Patriots Super Bowl Fruit Pizza…
Crust:1 package, remade sugar cookie dough
Roll float and bake according to package instructions
Make frosting while crust bakes
Frosting: 1, 8oz package, cream cheese. 1/4 cup unsalted butter; 1 tsp vanilla extract; 4 cups powdered sugar
Mix all ingredients in a mixer until smooth, add more powdered sugar if needed tor reach desired consistency.
Toppings: Fruit of your choice cut to desired size. (Blueberries, strawberries, and banana work best for Fourth of July Pizzas.)
Put it together: Spread cream cheese frosting on top of crust and top with fruit.
Now that you’re convinced you need some in your life, here are some tips for buying fresh blueberries at the grocery store:
Look for blueberries that are firm, dry and plump.
Blueberries should be smooth-skinned, have a silvery surface bloom and no leaves or stems.
Ripe blueberries will be deep-purple to blue-black (reddish colored blueberries aren’t ripe and may be sour tasting).
Blog provided by: Kira Hennes, dietetic intern with Iowa State University.
American Institute of Cancer Research: http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/blueberries.html
U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council: https://www.blueberrycouncil.org/about-blueberries/ushbc/
Recipe adapted from www.jocooks.com