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Recipes for Beauty: Blueberries

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For me, blueberry picking will always be synonymous with summer. My family would drive out to a nearby farm and my sister and I would run between the blueberry bushes, tossing the bright little orbs into plastic buckets (and our mouths) until our hands, clothes, and lips were stained a reddish blue. We relished in the warm sunshine, long days, and feeling of absolute freedom. We didn’t know it back then, but we were also doing great things for our skin. Blueberries are packed with vitamins A, C, and other antioxidants that protect skin against damage by free radicals. Vitamin C keeps skin smooth and firm by boosting collagen production, while vitamin A promotes healthy skin growth and can help reduce inflammation from acne.

Too often confined to desserts, blueberries are actually a versatile ingredient that adds a touch of tart sweetness to salads and sauces. They’re at their peak during summer, so now’s a good time to incorporate them into your diet. Start with these three ideas.

Summery Salad: Spinach Berry Salad

For the salad:

  • 6 oz baby spinach
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 oz goat cheese

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread walnut halves on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and toast for 5 minutes. Mix all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the dressing ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste, and toss with the salad. Serves 4.

Refreshing Appetizer: Sweet and Spicy Shrimp Ceviche

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 mango, cubed
  • 2 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 4 limes, juiced
  • 4 lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • Salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the shrimp for 1–2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Chop shrimp, discarding the tails, and combine with blueberries, mango, red onion, jalapeno, lemon and lime juice, and chopped cilantro. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Stir in the avocado and season with salt and pepper right before serving. Serves 4–6.

Multipurpose Sauce: Blueberry-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

recipe courtesy of Eating Well

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1–2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender and slightly brown, about 2–4 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook for another 30 seconds. Add bourbon, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until thickened. Serve on top of chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp. Makes 2 cups.