Category Archives: Blueberries (Vaccinium)

Healthy Northern Berries Improve Glucose Utilization

This study from Norway centered around glucose control in the liver. The researchers studied the pathways of glucose uptake and described the enzymes used in the final steps of carbohydrate digestion as alpha-amylase and alpha glucosidase. Any chemical that inhibits these enzymes will slow glucose uptake in the liver and be a benefit to anyone dealing with type 2 diabetes. They studies a lot of berries (bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa), black currants (Ribes nigrum),  bog whortleberry (Vaccinium uliginosum), cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus), Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), Elderberry (Sambucus nigra), Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitas-idaea), raspberry (Rubus idaeus), red currant (Ribes rubric), rowan berries (mountain ash, Sorbus aucuparia), and sea buckthorn (Hippophae (Elaeagnus) rhamnoides). The phenolic compounds in all the berries inhibited response the enzymes that promote glucose uptake. Some berries had other chemicals that actually promoted glucose uptake: mountain ash and bilberry being the highest. The berries with the most powerful inhibitors were crowberry, cloudberry, bog whortleberry (bog blueberry), and lingonberry with crowberry being ranked number 1!

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Documenting Change in Nunavut

Here is a thesis that explores climate change through berries near Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Canada. The program is part citizen science as well as documenting the ethnobotany of the region. It includes great summaries of the most important berries and even some recipes!

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Cornell Berry Diagnostics

The Cornell Cooperative Extensions Berry Diagnostic Tool is an excellent resource for anyone growing or interested in strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, currants, and gooseberries. This online tool allows anyone to select a berry crop and then from a variety of descriptions of plant growth issues, deformities, discolorations, damage, or other indicator that occurs on the whole plant, flower, fruit, or vegetative to continue to diagnose the issue. Lots of photographs and links to in depth articles are included about many diagnoses to really get to the “root” of the issue. Finally, recommendations for management of the issue can be selected after referring to the images and descriptions
Citation: Cornell Cooperative Extension. 2016. Cornell Fruit Berry Diagnostic Tool. Available online: Diagnosis. Accessed: 12 October 201

Fruit Soups

Fruit Soup Recipe

2 cups dry red wine 1 cup water ; 2/3 cup sugar ; 2 whole star anise ; 2 cinnamon sticks; 1 (12-ounce) basket fresh strawberries, hulled, sliced;  1 (6-ounce) basket fresh raspberries;  1 (4.4-ounce) basket fresh blueberries;  1 pint vanilla bean gelato or ice cream

Directions: Combine the wine, water, sugar, star anise, and cinnamon sticks in a heavy large saucepan. Add all but 1/2 cup of each of the berries. Bring the liquids to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the fruit is very tender, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly. Discard the star anise and cinnamon sticks. Transfer the berry mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain the soup through a fine mesh strainer and into a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, stirring occasionally, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day ahead. Cut the reserved strawberries into small pieces. Place a small scoop of vanilla bean gelato or ice cream in the center of 8 decorative dessert glasses or soup bowls. Divide the mixed berry soup among the glasses, being careful to pour around the gelato. Sprinkle the reserved berries over the soup and serve immediately. Thank you to Giada De Laurentiis for a delicious mixed berry soup with gelato recipe. Doing research on berry information is when I learned that people really do make soup from berries. You can heat it up and use it as a topping or throw some whipped cream on it for a cold topping. Sounds delicious!   AK Fairbanks

Bog Blueberries for Health

“Bog Blueberry anthocyanins alleviate photo-aging in UV B irradiation-induced human dermal fibroblasts.”

The fruits of the bog blueberry plant are rich in anthocyanins that contribute pigmentation and the relief/prevention of several chronic diseases. Several studies show bog blueberries remarkably suppress collagen degradation as well as inflammatory response in the skin cells which allow for connective tissue and healing/recovery after injury. The edible berry shows proof it can be protective against skin damage!
Bae, J.-Y., Choi, J.-S., Han, S.J., Ju, S.M., Kang, I.-J., Kang, Y.-H., Kim, S.J., Lim, S.S., Park, J. 2009. “Bog Blueberry Anthocyanins Alleviate Photo-Aging in Ultra-Violet B Irradiation-Induced Human Dermal Fibroblasts.” Molecular Nutrition and Food Research 53(6): 726-738.

Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake

Every year around October my church conducts a pie auction fundraiser. While this isn’t exactly a pie, it still sold for over $100, which means you can take the whole thing home! You won’t want to share! This recipe is taken from the Taste of Home Annual Cookbook, 2003 Edition. CM Fairbanks
Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake
1 packaged (12 ounces) frozen blueberries, thawed
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
CRUST:
1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
FILLING:
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
¼ cup lemon juice
In a food processor or blender, process the blueberries, sugar, water and cornstarch until blended. Transfer to a heavy saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes or until thickened. Set aside 6 tablespoons for filling. Refrigerate the remaining sauce for topping. Combine crust ingredients. Press onto the bottom of a greased 9-in. springform pan; set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and milk until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low just until combined. Add lemon juice; beat just until blended. Pour half of the filling over crust; top with half of the reserved blueberry sauce. Repeat layers. Cut through filling with a knife to swirl blueberry sauce. Place pan on a baking sheet.

Blueberry variation

Learning about how much variation there is in bog blueberries in Dr. Pat Holloway’s class makes me realize that perhaps that is partly why I’m attracted to them. If each bush and cluster of berries were the same, it wouldn’t be nearly as exciting to pick blueberries. For instance, bunchberries, while also not quite as tasty, they don’t seem to have near the variability of blueberries. All the plants are about as high, and the berries seem to be very similar in size. HR Fairbanks