Chris Xaver Photo
Use a summer favorite in this ice cream
By Chris Xaver
Summertime, summertime! Oh, what a glorious summer we’re going to celebrate after this past winter. And I am lucky enough to live within spitting distance of an “on your honor” blueberry patch. This place is spectacular. I love to take the grandkids there, giving them each a milk jug with the top cut off for the berries.
We eat as many as we pick—at least at first. Our tongues are blue, and we make a big contest out of how many each of us can pick. Of course, the littlest one tends to pick berries that are not quite ripe yet, so when we add those to our recipes they lend a bit of a sour note to the dish. No matter. I don’t like things too sweet anyway.
We come home from the blueberry patch with seven to 10 pounds at a time. And then the fun begins. We spread them out on a single layer on cookie sheets and pop them in the freezer (unwashed). Once they are rock hard, I pour them into zipper bags to use year-round. A rinse when I want to use them washes and thaws them at the same time.
Another reason we don’t wash them ahead of time is that these fruits come with their own protective system. There’s a “bloom” on them that protects their skin. When we wash them, we wash that off. Leave that protection on until right before you plan to eat them.
And for the recipe, you can use them fresh or frozen. Use them in most recipes frozen if that’s how you have them. It typically won’t change a thing. And researchers have found freezing blueberries does not lower their antioxidant or anthocyanin concentrations. The anthocyanins give the berries their color, which ranges from blue to red with a beautiful shade of purple in between.
Blueberries are one of those foods most of us want in our diets. I’m always looking for foods that are low on the glycemic index, and blueberries fit that bill. In fact, a 2010 study in the Journal of Nutrition showed that people with type 2 diabetes who added at least three servings of blueberries (along with other berries) to their diet showed significant blood-sugar regulation over a three-month period.
Another study in 2010 indicated consuming blueberries improves memory in older adults. Well now, that’s reason enough for me to eat more of them!
Blueberries also protect your heart. Folks who consume one to two cups a day (over several months) have improved blood-fat balances and lower triglycerides. Eating blueberries has been shown to protect blood vessels from the oxygen damage that can lead to clogging; and it’s been linked to lower blood pressure. The more I research blueberries, the more I feel like I need to plant a few bushes in my own yard!
So, on to my recipe. I have two versions of my blueberry ice cream for you. One is dairy- and sugar-free. The other is—not. Neither has egg yolks. Summer is too fleeting to stand at the stove and temper eggs. Quick and easy is how these ice creams are made.
Sugar- and Dairy-Free Blueberry Ice Cream
2 cups blueberries
Coconut cream from the top of two refrigerated cans (14 ounces) of coconut milk
4 tablespoons stevia
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender until desired consistency. Place in an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions (mine is ready in 20 minutes). No ice cream maker? Pour the mixture into a bowl and freeze. Stir every 20 minutes for three or so hours or until it reaches desired consistency.
Blueberry Ice Cream
2 cups blueberries
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk
1 ½ cups heavy cream
Place berries, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Smash the berries. Cool. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Place in the ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions (mine is ready in 20 minutes). No ice cream maker? Pour the mixture into a bowl and freeze. Stir every 20 minutes for three or so hours or until it reaches desired consistency.