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The popular blueberries stars in health benefits

By Judy Grigoraci

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In the fruit world popularity contest, blueberries are a close second to the number one big red machine -- the strawberry.

No shrinking violet, blueberries are superstars when it comes to health benefits and possess a long list of good-for-us credentials.

The blueberry has one of the highest antioxidant capacities of all the fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings, ever protecting our cells from free radical damage. That's heady stuff.

But it doesn't stop there. Recent studies have shown the raw berry can improve memory; has a low glycemic index, making it a perfect food for diabetics who look for foods to help regulate blood sugars; and doesn't break down if frozen. The properties stay the same as for fresh. Organic berries have a higher antioxidant concentration versus non-organic, making the organic more desirable.

I hope you will find the four-ingredient, old-fashioned blueberry dessert just as desirable as a perfect end-of-summer comfort food.

To start with, I skimped on the amount of sugar in the topping and selected the 50/50 butter-Smart Balance (comes in one-pound box, not a tub) for the fat instead of all butter or all margarine.

You may use any berry or fruit (namely strawberries, raspberries and peaches) but it's essential that the fruits are ripe and sweet because in this recipe there isn't any sugar except for the crumble mixture.

I also have made this with frozen, no sugar added blackberries. Thaw the berries, discarding the juice and proceed with the recipe as directed.

The frozen blackberries lived up to the hype of being picked at their ripest (as the frozen food companies promote) because they were sweet enough right from the bag. Often the fresh blackberries are too tart to go it alone without sugar.

I was afraid, by discarding the blackberry liquid that it would be too dry, but more juice was produced when baked. If you kept all of the berry juice in, you would have to thicken it, which would add carbs in the form of cornstarch or flour.

Do yourself a favor and serve the dessert warm from the oven.

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  • If, after the crumble, your sweet tooth is still acting up, Barry's Bakery French Twists may satisfy.

    The Twists are short sticks of sweet puff pastries that call out to be an accompaniment for a cup of coffee or tea.

    They are packaged in wild raspberry, chocolate chip, original cinnamon, almond and maple French toast flavors.

    Two twists are 60 calories (20 from fat), 2 fat grams, 4 grams sugars and 9 carbs. They are also absent dairy, butter, eggs, yeast, cholesterol and are low sodium. After that, you wonder what they still have to make them taste good, but they do.

     The founder of Barry's Twists had a heart attack at 42 and developed this treat for his purpose, later branching out to the public.

    I first noticed them in the Purple Onion produce company at Capitol Market. Owner Allan Hathaway says the twists are baked upon receipt of his order and shipped fresh to the store. His biggest sellers are the original and maple French toast. 

    Reach Judy Grigoraci at jg@suddenlink.net

     

    Blueberry Crumble

    Makes 8 servings

    3 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed, drained

    1 cup flour

    1/2 cup butter

    1/4 cup sugar

    PLACE berries in 8-inch baking dish.

    COMBINE flour, butter and sugar, mixing with fork or pastry blender until crumbly.

    SPRINKLE crumble mixture evenly over berries.

    BAKE at 350 degrees 30 to 45 minutes or until berries are bubbly and topping light golden brown and crisped.

    Nutrition information: (1/8 recipe) 160 calories; 60 calories from fat; 6 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; zero milligrams cholesterol; 125 milligrams sodium; 26 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 2 grams protein. 


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