By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
There’s snow outside my house right now and that means two things. 1) I’m officially in summer withdrawal and, 2) I miss enjoying fresh produce from my local farm market. In the winters I pretend I’m on a warm tropical island by enjoying frosty, fruity smoothies. Blueberries are the NJ state fruit, but I won’t be seeing a fresh Jersey berry till July. Which is why I’m so excited to have discovered frozen Wild Blueberries!
During the winter months, I load up my freezer with frozen fruit, and also make my own when the fresh stuff starts to turn before I can eat it. Many people assume that because fruit is in the frozen aisle of the store, it’s inferior to it’s Perimeter-Dwelling Cousin. But the truth is, frozen fruits (and veggies) can often be more nutritious than fresh, because frozen product is picked and frozen at its peak. Wild Blueberries, for example, are individually quick frozen at harvest, allowing flavor to be locked in as if picked right from the fields. Fresh produce, on the other hand, can lose nutrients over time due to travel, sitting in the grocery store, and then sitting in your house before it gets eaten. Thanks to this freezing technology, I love getting to enjoy fruit year round, even when it’s not in season. Plus, I get to experiment with new produce, like Wild Blueberries.
Not All Blueberries are Created Equal
Did you know there are actually two types of blueberries: Wild Blueberries and the regular, cultivated blueberries you’re familiar with in the produce section? You can tell the difference in Wild Blueberries based in their size – they are much smaller than their plump relative. They also have a much more intense flavor due to growing in the wild and having a chance to cross-breed with other plants, allowing for an awesomely sweet and tart burst on the tongue.
Wild Blueberries aren’t just called “wild” because of their unique flavor. They actually grow wildly in nature. You can find them in barrens and fields in Maine and Eastern Canada. Wild Blueberries have grown there for 10,000 years.
Berry Good For Your Health
Berries are often known for being high sources of antioxidants. Wild Blueberries have twice as much antioxidant power as their fresh, cultivated cousins. Research has shown than Wild Blueberries play a role in maintaining gut health while managing diabetes, cancer, and brain health. So where does one find such a powerful little fruit? Wild Blueberries live in the freezer section of most grocery stores. Just make sure the package says “Wild” so you know you’re getting the tiny sweet tart version.
I was invited to participate in the #WildYourSmoothie contest by Wild Blueberries. I thought this would be fun since I rarely do recipes for smoothies. Usually I just throw a bunch of stuff into my blender that I know will taste good together and hit the Ninja power button. One of my favorite smoothie ingredients is frozen bananas. I don’t know about you, but in my house bananas go from green to brown and seem to skip that yellow stage. In the past, I used to cut my losses and trash the brown mushy ones. But as I’ve gotten more aware of food waste, I now make it a point to freeze my overripe bananas. Mostly because they taste awesome in smoothies! Something about the frozen bananas creates such a creamy texture. Plus it eliminates the need to add ice in my smoothies.
The other surprise ingredient is the result of a night out with Mr E in Miami a few years ago. Mr E
and I were supposed to have a 2-hour layover in Miami. Thanks to Snow-Hysteria, our flight was cancelled before a flake of snow even hit the ground up north and we got 2 days in Miami. Our second night in the city, we found a bar off the beaten path, The Broken Shaker, with amazing mixologists. It was the first time I’d ever seen or tried egg whites in a cocktail. Fast forward to plotting and planning my smoothie entry, and I decided to add egg whites as my protein source to create a frothy texture. When adding egg whites into a beverage, make sure to use only pasteurized eggs (pasturization = heat = kills bacteria) . I find it easiest to use liquid egg whites to avoid contamination from yolks.
The result of my smoothie creation tastes like a liquid blueberry muffin. And so my Wild Blueberry Muffin Smoothie was born. Toss in some flax and hemp seeds for fiber, plus cacao nibs for a fun crunchy surprise. Since there is already a lot of carb happening from the fruit, I opted to swap traditional dairy milk for unsweetened almond milk to add a liquid and some flavor without too many extra calories. Put it all in my single blender cup for the Ninja, and away it goes.
Have you tried Wild Blueberries yet?
How do you like to #WildYourSmoothie?
Share your Smoothie Stories in the Comments!
- 3/4C frozen Wild Blueberries
- 1/2 banana, sliced (ideally frozen)
- 1 TB ground flaxseed
- 1 TB hemp hearts
- 1 tsp cacao nibs
- 1/2C pasteurized egg whites
- 1/2C unsweetened almond milk
- Place all ingredients in a blender.
- Pulse until ingredients are completely blended.
- Optional to top with additional frozen Wild Blueberries, hemp hearts, or cacao nibs.
Keep sliced frozen bananas handy in the freezer. Overripe bananas are perfect for freezing and prevents food waste.
16oz smoothie = 305 calories, 13g fat (2g sat fat), 34g carbs, 11g fiber, 15g protein, 205mg sodium (Source: SELF Nutrition Data)