On a recent trip to Maine to visit the Wild Blueberry fields known as barrens, I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Lou Keifer of the Bar Harbor Inn. A very kind and thoughtful man, Chef Lou took us on a visit to his herb garden just outside the restaurant and shared that he actually grows his own wild blueberries, among other fresh ingredients, which he uses daily at his restaurants, The Reading Room and Terrace Grille at the Bar Harbor Inn. Since wild blueberries were our focus during the four day visit, Chef made four different kinds of salsa highlighting our star ingredient. In this highly nutritious Wild Blueberry and Tomato Salsa, Chef tosses Wild Blueberries from Maine with Cherry tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, basil, cayenne, walnut oil and a little honey and vinegar for a delicious combination that can be used as a topping for grilled, baked or broiled fish, chicken, or pork. Or, enjoy this simple and refreshing salsa with celery stalks, bell pepper slices, cucumber slices, and baked veggie chips.
Wild Blueberries are found in the freezer section in your grocery store. Before you cringe at the word “frozen”, know that these blueberries really do grow in the wild! The photograph at the top shows them growing fresh in the wild blueberry barrens (or fields). The blueberries are then harvested, triple washed and then dried using a special air suctioning to remove as much of the moisture as possible from the outside of the berry. This “air drying” process prevents crystals from forming when the berries are IQF, individually quick frozen. The IQF process literally halts the aging process of the berry resulting in the freshest, most nutritious blueberry product in the world. Nutritional studies done on the wild blueberries found that these berries have 2x’s the antioxidants of their fresh “tame” culitivated counterparts, have 25% higher fiber content and are richer in minerals like zinc and manganese.
Nutrients abound in this salsa recipe because ingredients of tomatoes, basil, manuka honey, and walnut oil add other layers of vital nutrients such as lycopene, vitamin A, and omega-3 fatty acids. Also worthy to note is that wild blueberries have a high concentration of anthocyanins which help prevent eye damage and preserve eyesight in addition to the other health benefits of blueberries including improved memory, cancer prevention, healthy heart, and the promotion of a healthy digestive system.
Serving size: 1/4 cup
Many thanks to the Wild Blueberry Association of North America for the immersion and education into the wonderful, rich history and harvesting of the Maine Wild Blueberries. For more information, visit wildblueberries.com In this calorie-slashing collection, The Bikini Chef® Susan Irby offers recipes for switching up ingredients that keep calories to a minimum. Complete with serving-size suggestions and “Skinny Secret” shortcuts to trim calories in little ways, here you’ll get expertly crafted recipes that include offerings for every meal of the day!
Books by The Bikini Chef®:
The Bikini Chef® Diet
Substitute Yourself Skinny
Boost Your Metabolism
The Complete Idiot’s Guide Quinoa Cookbook
The Clean Separation
$7 Healthy Meals
$7 Quick and Easy Meals
$7 Pressure Cooker Meals
Cooking With Susan : Southern Family Favorites
Wild Blueberry and Tomato Salsa
Nutritional studies done on the wild blueberries found that these berries have 2x’s the antioxidants of their “tame” culitivated counterparts, have 25% higher fiber content and are richer in minerals like zinc and manganese.
- 1 cup frozen wild blueberries, thawed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/4 cup diced yellow bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon honey, I recommend raw manuka honey
- 2 tablespoons walnut oil
- 2 tablespoons fruit vinegar
- Toss all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
- Serve with grilled, broiled or baked proteins like fish, chicken, or pork or enjoy with baked veggie chips and crudite.