Blueberry muffins – superfood never tasted so good!

by Jeanne on April 27, 2009

in Baking (sweet), Good cause, Recipes - fruit, Recipes - vegetarian

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Superfoods.

If you believe the press and the marketing machine, these are everywhere.  Except here.  Goji berries from China.  Acai from South America.  Wheatgrass from the USA. Noni fruit from Tahiti.  Blue-green algae from, erm, the sea.  Of course, being so exotic, these superfoods don’t come cheap.  But hey – you can’t put a price on your health, right?

The truth, though, is somewhat different – and far cheaper!  Any food with a high phytonutrient content can be classed as a superfood.  Judged by this criterion, there are all sorts of everyday, easily obtainable, and cheap fruits and vegetables that can proudly carry the title of superfood.  Did you know that:

  • Broccoli, cabage and cauliflower contain phytochemicals that help to prevent breast, colon and rectal cancer.
  • Garlic is packed with chemical compounds that support the immune system.
  • Brazil nuts are packed with selenium that can help to combat Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Cranberries contain chemicals that can help lower levels of bad cholesterol.
  • Flaxseeds are a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids which can help to reduce heart disease and strokes.
  • Pumpkins and carrots (and indeed all yellow vegetables and fruit) are packed with beta-carotene which is thought to lower the risk of cancers including skin cancer.

Which brings us to the humble blueberry.  These little guys contain some of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of any vegetable, and they share with cranberries the ability to prevent urinary tract infections.  What gives them their colour is the pigment anthocyanin – and studies also show that anthocynanin inhibits cancer at all stages of its development.  The best news of all is that scientists doubt whether synthetically produced anthocyanin will have the same effects – so you will just have to eat the berries themselves to get the full health benefits ;-)

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And why, you may ask, am I a walking encyclopaedia on the topic of superfoods?  Well, because I’ve been doing some reading this week on foods that can combat cancer.  Yup, it’s that time of year again when the wonderful Chris of Mele Cotte hosts the annual cancer-awareness cooking event Cooking to Beat Cancer.  I don’t think any one of us has not been touched by cancer’s cold, bony finger in some way – I have lost 2 friends in the last 5 years – so there reslly is no excuse not to take part. The idea is to make something containing a food which is known as a cancer-fighter, so you could consider tomatoes, most berries, all cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale), pumpkins & squashes, red grapes, cantaloupe melons… the list is pretty long.  All of them are superfoods when it comes to fighting cancer – and all are available in regular supermarkets or farmer’s markets.

I did not grow up with blueberries and have never been a huge fan of the fresh berries.  For me, the skin to flesh ratio is just wrong, and the taste not as appealing as other berries.  But I really want to eat more of them as they are super-good for you.  So, with renewed determination, I picked up a punnet of blueberries on the way home from work on Friday and over the weekend I turned them into blueberry muffins, using a recipe from my trusty Muffins Galore recipe book.  If you’ve tried store-bought blueberry muffins and found them too sweet and too crumbly, you should really try these.  The finished texture of the muffins was a little more scone-like and held together well, even when you started hitting the deliciously oozy berries – and they tasted more of the tart berries than of sugar and sweeteners!

So move over, goji berries!  My superfood of choice from now on will be blueberries – baked into a muffin, of course :)

Looking for other berry muffins from food blogs?  Try:

 

 

 

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BLUEBERRY MUFFINS (makes 6 jumbo or 12 standard muffins)

Ingredients

300g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g butter
80g caster sugar
200g fresh blueberries
2 eggs,lightly beaten
225ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200C.  Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin or line the cups with paper muffin cases.  Or, if you bought 6 funky jumbo silicone muffin cases on a recent trip to Chicago, use those :)

Mix the flour and baking powder in a large bowl.  Rub the butter into the flour mix until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in the sugar and the blueberries into the mixture.

In a separate bowl or jug, mix together the milk, eggs and vanilla extract.  Pour the egg mixture all at once into the dry ingredients and mix briefly until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.  Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes or until golden (test with a skewer – when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, the muffins are done).

Allow to cool for 10 minutes, the turn out onto a wire rack.  These are delicious both warm and cold.

Don’t forget to get your entries in for this month’s Waiter, There’s Something in My… challenge.  The theme is retro classics, so think prawn cocktail, melba toast and steak Diane!  The deadline is Sunday 3 May.

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Leave a Comment

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

chris April 28, 2009 at 1:16 am

Perfect! Blueberry muffins are the only kind I look for when I have a hankering for one. Thanks for contributing them to CCC3!
Retro Classic… need to get on mine!

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Self Tanning Queen April 28, 2009 at 2:23 am

Thanks for the tip! I can pass this on to my readers as well, letting them know how they can prevent skin cancer from the inside and out!

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nina April 28, 2009 at 4:36 am

Thank you for all the info, Jeanne and yes we can all in some way eat more of that and less of this to reduce our chances of getting the big C somewhat!!! The muffins makes me want to bake a batch quickly before the others get up!!! Lovely crunchy texture on the outside, but I bet the inside was so moist and delicious!!!!

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Johanna April 28, 2009 at 6:31 am

Love this info about cancer – now I feel even better about pumpkin because I need all the help to fight skin cancer having spent so long in the Australian sun as a kid – and now you have me craving blueberries – I love them in smoothies and pancakes particularly!

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Jan April 28, 2009 at 7:14 am

Fantastic looking muffins! Loved reading all that info too.

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meeta April 28, 2009 at 8:35 am

always the best blueberries in muffins. reminds me i have a few pictures in on my harddrive for blueberry muffins too.

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Nikki April 28, 2009 at 11:48 am

Those look sinfully delicious. Who would have thought they could be packed with health benefits too?

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grace April 28, 2009 at 12:48 pm

i think blueberries may be my favorite superfood–they’re postitively scrumptious. however, i have to respectfully disagree–i think blueberry pie is the vehicle in which they taste best. :)

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Kalyn April 28, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Amazing photos! I love blueberries but rarely make muffins. Need to work on a whole wheat version.

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johanna April 28, 2009 at 6:26 pm

i’d have to agree – blueberry muffins are the way to go! what a way to stuff yourself with something that is good for you… i have never tried a pie, but am willing to give that a try too. contrary to you, i have grown up eating berries off the bushes… my parents would get very annoyed at me realising that on our weekend berry picking rounds in the woods, i would be gobbling up berries out of their baskets faster than they could pick them ;-)

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Katie April 28, 2009 at 7:23 pm

I dearly love blueberry muffins… I dearly love blueberries in any and every way. Can’t get them here, though. In the US I bought them by the crate in summer!

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herschelian April 28, 2009 at 8:40 pm

And don’t forget that garlic has the added benefit of keeping vampires at bay!

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Bellini Valli April 28, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Thank you for raising our awareness to these superfoods Jeanne. Blueberries do make a nice appearance in some warm muffins:D

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Debsie April 29, 2009 at 11:30 am

Hmmm beautiful Blueberry Muffins!

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Rosemary April 30, 2009 at 7:17 am

Who said medicine had to taste bad for it to be good for you? I love blueberries – just wish they weren’t so expensive here.

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Michelle May 1, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Although I’ve never had fruit in my muffins, you’ve convinced me that it is high time for me to try it!

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canelvr May 1, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Thanks for that! I’ve just got into making muffins and have yet to have a go at berries. I’m a big fan of blueberries!

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courtney May 4, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Love my blueberries. they can get quit pricey though here. But nothing better.

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Elyse May 5, 2009 at 7:21 am

I love blueberries, and your muffins look just fabulous! Yay for super foods. I really enjoyed reading all of your information about them. Yay for such a tiny berry packing such a HUGE punch.

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