July is National Blueberry Month. Blueberries are a superfood that’s perfect for summertime. These little berries are low in calories and packed with nutrients like fiber, manganese, and antioxidants that can help protect your body from damage caused by free radicals.
In addition to their antioxidant content, blueberries are rich in fiber, which can help keep your digestive system running smoothly. They also contain vitamins C and K, which help promote healthy skin, bones, and blood vessels.
July is also National Grilling Month. Summer is the perfect time to take your culinary skills outdoors and enjoy some of your favorite foods on the grill. To keep your summer grilling healthy, include lean proteins like chicken or fish. Grilling is also a great way to cook vegetables, which brings out their natural sweetness and adds a delicious smoky flavor. Choose from vegetables such as red peppers, corn on the cob, eggplant, summer squash, and sweet potatoes. Pineapple and peaches are also great grilled.
For summertime sweet tooth cravings, combine blueberries and watermelon for a refreshing fruit salad. When grilling, always keep food safety in mind. Wash your hands before handling any food. Make sure to separate utensils for raw and cooked foods to prevent cross-contamination, and always wash cutting boards and utensils in hot, soapy water between uses. Use a food thermometer to monitor temperature and ensure food is cooked thoroughly. Make sure to keep the grill clean and properly store leftovers, too.
So next time you fire up the grill, consider adding some blueberries to your menu. Whether you’re grilling them alongside some chicken or fish or using them to make a delicious summer salad, these little berries will surely add a burst of flavor and a healthy dose of nutrients to your meal.
Try this blueberry glaze recipe from eatright.org for your ribs, chicken, or vegetables for a sweet and tangy twist on barbecue grilling.
½ cup diced onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups frozen wild blueberries
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
- On a stove, heat a medium saucepan to medium-high heat. Add olive oil and sauté onion for 2 minutes, or until translucent. Add blueberries, ketchup, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and salt. Stir well. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender) to blend until smooth. Transfer ½ cup of sauce to one bowl and reserve for serving. Transfer remaining sauce to a second bowl for grilling.
- National Blueberry Month Toolkit [Review of National Blueberry Month Toolkit]. U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. Retrieved July 7, 2023, from https://ushbc.blueberry.org/all-resources/toolkits-and-marketing-materials/grab-a-boost-of-blue/national-blueberry-month-toolkit/#tip-sheets
- FoodData Central. (n.d.). Fdc.nal.usda.gov. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171711/nutrients
- Fire Up the Barbecue. (n.d.). Www.eatright.org. Retrieved July 8, 2023, from https://www.eatright.org/food/food-preparation/seasonal-foods/fire-up-the-barbecue
- Seasonal Produce Guide. (n.d.). SNAP Education Connection. https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/resources/nutrition-education-materials/seasonal-produce-guide
- Blueberry Barbecued Chicken Recipe. (n.d.). Www.eatright.org. Retrieved July 7, 2023, from https://www.eatright.org/recipes/entrees/blueberry-barbecued-chicken-recipe
Pasco Extension Intern Syreeta McDonald contributed to this article.