by Alissa Segersten, Contributing Author
Alissa's recipe (below) for Blueberry-Orange-Coconut Swirl Popsicles is not only delicious, healthful, and beautiful, it is also simple to make and kid approved!
Read more about the benefits of fresh blueberries and then swirl up a batch of these popsicles for a summer treat.
Photos by Alissa Segersten
Fresh Summer Blueberries: Eat your fill—and make sure to save some for use all year long!
How lucky we are to live in blueberry country—trips up to Mount Baker yield handfuls of tiny alpine blueberries each with a profound flavor punch, while our local food markets bring baskets overflowing with large, sweet, locally grown berries. Additionally, growing your own backyard blueberries is easy!
Check local nurseries in either the spring or fall (the best times to plant berry bushes) and find a sunny location in your yard. They take little to no effort to grow. I love walking outside my back door on a sunny summer morning to pick handful after handful of sweet summer blueberries.
For those wanting to invest some time and energy, you can take a trip out to the county where u-pick blueberry farms abound.
Every summer I take my five children out to some of our favorite organic berry farms for two reasons: to fill up our second freezer with numerous pounds of health-promoting goodness that we can utilize all year long, and so they can develop an intimate connection with their food by learning where and how it grows.
Luckily, blueberries at peak season are easy to harvest. We literally pick bucketfuls in a matter of hours. One trip to the berry patch usually gives us 60 to 80 pounds of blueberries!
No time for u-pick? No problem.
You can purchase local and organic blueberries from the Co-op produce departments.
What can you do with all of the fresh blueberries that summertime in the Pacific Northwest provides? Here are some ideas:
- Make blueberry popsicles by blending fresh berries with orange juice (or use the recipe at right) and freezing the mixture into popsicle molds.
- Freeze the berries in large containers to use throughout the year.
- Eat as many as you can every day while they are in season. You really can’t eat too many.
- Make blueberry jam. I use Pomona Pectin (available at the Co-op) to make a low-sugar or honey-sweetened jam. Then I can the jam in a boiling water bath and keep in my pantry so my children can use it throughout the year.
- Add the blueberries to salads, on top of ice cream, or in smoothies.
- Make blueberry crisps, muffins, or pancakes. I even have a recipe on my website for blueberry pancake syrup!
Blueberry-Orange-Coconut Swirl Popsicles
I like to make a few batches of these just after we go blueberry picking. Making popsicles with freshly picked fruit is an effective way to help preserve the harvest!
Sometimes I use apple juice in place of the orange juice and other times I simply blend up the blueberries with a little water or coconut water.
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
Place the blueberries and juice into a blender; blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds leaving a little room at the top of each one. Top each off with a tablespoon or so of coconut milk, then take a chopstick or small spoon and lightly swirl it into the blueberry mix. Freeze overnight.
About the Author
Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University and is currently working on a master’s degree in Nutrition and Functional Medicine.
She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition and Nourishing Meals, the mother of five children, a whole-foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, and paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole-foods diet.
Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole-foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book.
Learn more at nourishingmeals.com.
Did You Know?
Blueberries are one of the healthiest foods to include in your diet!
Blueberries are not only a food for you, but also for the healthy bacteria in your gut. Eating blueberries can actually increase the levels of the all-important bifidobacterium species found in normal gut flora. This will not only help balance your gut ecosystem (boosting the good guys means not allowing room for the non-beneficial or more harmful species of bacteria and yeasts to take over and damage your gut), but also improve your immune system.
Blueberries have also been well-researched in both cancer prevention and cancer treatment. Some studies have shown that consuming blueberries can inhibit breast carcinogenesis and act therapeutically in established malignancies. Blueberries get their beautiful bluish-purple pigment from the bioflavonoids called anthocyanins. These compounds can act like antioxidants in our bodies, scavenging free radicals, thus reducing inflammation, among many other things.