Life

Merry berries 0

Rita DeMontis, National Food Editor, QMI AGENCY
A modern take on the lemon square, Frozen Blueberry Lime Squares can't help but refresh at the end of a meal. (Courtesy of the BC Blueberry Council)

A modern take on the lemon square, Frozen Blueberry Lime Squares can't help but refresh at the end of a meal. (Courtesy of the BC Blueberry Council)

Keep things simple and delicious with a handful of blueberries. An excellent source of health, you'll find them just about everywhere - August is, after all, National Blueberry Month. But don't think blueberries are just here for the moment - frozen blueberries in your supermarket or grocery store's freezer will work just as beautifully when the season's passed.

Not that we mean to hurry summer out so soon. Here's a selection of gorgeous and delicious recipes courtesy of the BC Blueberry Council for you to enjoy today and in the future. Check out Bcblueberry.com. for additional info and recipes.

BLUEBERRY-CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CUPS

Like muffins with a lighter touch, these small servings of fruit-filled mousse make for delightful desserts.

1 cup (250ml) half-and-half, divided

1-1/4 tsp. (6ml) unflavoured gelatin

1/2 cup (125ml) semi-sweet chocolate chips

6 (2-1/2-inch) round chocolate wafers

1 cup (250ml) fresh blueberries

In a large microwaveable bowl, place 1/3-cup (75ml) half-and-half. Sprinkle gelatin over and stir to mix; set aside to allow gelatin to soften for 5 minutes; microwave on high until bubbles appear, 30 to 60 seconds. Add chocolate chips and stir until smooth, then stir in remaining half-and-half. Cover and refrigerate until mixture starts to set, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line six muffin cups with paper or silicone cupcake liners; place a chocolate wafer in each, crush to fit; set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat chocolate mixture until smooth and fluffy. Fold blueberries into mousse; spoon into cupcake papers; cover loosely and chill until firm, about 2 hours. (Recipe can easily be doubled.)

Makes six servings.

INDIVIDUAL BLUEBERRY TARTS

Enjoy blueberries almost wholly, piled atop a graham cracker crust, and let the bursts of flavour shine through.

1/4 cup (50ml) peach preserves *

2 cups (500ml) fresh blueberries

6 mini graham cracker pie crusts

2 Tbsp. (30ml) sliced natural almonds

In a microwaveable bowl, stir preserves with 1 Tbsp. (15ml) water. Microwave on high until preserves melt, about 30 seconds. Stir in blueberries; return to microwave and cook 45 seconds; stir and cook 30 to 45 seconds longer until blueberries are hot but not bursting. Spoon blueberry mixture into pie crusts; chill until set, about 1 hour; sprinkle each pie with 3 or 4 almond slices just before serving. (Recipe can be easily doubled.)

Makes six servings.

NOTE: * If peach preserves are not available, substitute apricot preserves or blueberry jam.

FROZEN BLUEBERRY-LIME SQUARES

A modern take on the lemon square, the blueberry and lime in these frozen treats can't help but refresh at the end of a meal.

7 graham cracker squares

2 cups (500ml) fresh blueberries

1/2 cup (125ml) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

1 can (14-oz./207ml) light sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup (125ml) lime juice

2 tsp. (10ml) lime zest

Blueberry-Pineapple Salsa (recipe below)

Lightly oil a 9-inch (21-cm) square pan. Cover bottom of pan with graham crackers in a single layer, breaking pieces to fit. In blender, puree blueberries, cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until smooth; add lime juice and zest; blend well. Spoon blueberry mixture onto graham crackers and spread evenly. Cover and freeze until solid, about 2 hours. To serve, remove from freezer and leave at room temperature until edges soften, about 10 minutes. Cut into 9 squares; serve on dessert plates with Blueberry-Pineapple Salsa. (Return any unused squares to the pan, cover tightly and freeze.)

Serves 9.

BLUEBERRY-PINEAPPLE SALSA

1-1/2 cups (375ml) fresh blueberries

1 cup (250ml) chopped fresh pineapple

3 Tbsp. (45ml) chopped fresh mint

2 Tbsp. (30ml) lime juice

1 Tbsp. (15ml) brown sugar

In a bowl, toss together blueberries, pineapple, mint, lime juice and brown sugar. Cover and chill until serving time.

YIELD: 2-1/2 cups (625ml)

QUICK BLUEBERRY-CRANBERRY RELISH

Get ready to fall in love with a new condiment, perfect with a favourite mild cheese or even on a sandwich.

1 cup (250 ml) whole-berry cranberry sauce

1 cup (250 ml) fresh blueberries

1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted

In a medium-sized microwave-safe dish, microwave cranberry sauce until melted, 60 to 80 seconds. Fold in blueberries and nuts. Serve warm or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 16 portions.