EATING FOR LIFE

Eating for Life | Frozen blueberries are sweet, healthful and economical

Updated: 2012-10-03T01:01:30Z

By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA

The Kansas City Star

Editor’s Note: This column was originally published in 2008.

As summer wanes, value-conscious shoppers know a pint of fresh blueberries can wind up costing a pretty penny.

Looking for a bargain? Consider trolling the freezer case.

Cook’s Illustrated found frozen blueberries were actually sweeter than fresh ones shipped long distances because they are picked at the peak of ripeness and individually quick frozen, IQF. If properly handled, frozen fruits and vegetables have the same nutritional benefits as fresh, the FDA reports.

The Star’s Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops With Blueberry Wine Sauce combines fresh or frozen blueberries with red wine. Like blueberries, red wine is naturally high in resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant that may lower bad cholesterol, protect against heart disease and slow age-related memory loss.

•  Shopping tips: When buying frozen berries, check the bag to make sure there are no clumps, indicating the berries have thawed and refrozen.

A “dry” wine means all the sugar from the grapes has been converted to alcohol during the fermentation process. Typical dry red wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Merlot. But if you’re looking for something more unusual, try Sangiovese, Malbec, Carmenere or Tempranillo. If you do not drink wine, substitute grape juice.

Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops With Blueberry Wine Sauce

Makes 4 servings

3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed and drained if frozen

1/2 cup dry red wine

2 teaspoons olive oil

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided

2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, divided

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 pound boneless pork loin chops, cut 3/4 to 1 inch thick

4 teaspoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Combine blueberries and wine in a small saucepan. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and pressing down with the back of a spoon to extract the juice. Set aside.

Combine olive oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, thyme, 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Preheat grill to medium-high or allow coals to burn to white ash. Spray grill with nonstick spray. Grill chops 4 minutes; turn and cook 4 minutes. Brush balsamic vinegar mixture generously over each side of chops. Continue cooking about 3 minutes per side, or until meat thermometer registers 160 degrees for medium doneness, brushing frequently with vinegar mixture. Remove from grill, cover and allow to stand 5 minutes.

Combine remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, brown sugar and cornstarch. Stir well to dissolve cornstarch and set aside. Pour berries and liquid through a sieve, reserving juice. Press down gently with the back of a spoon to remove all juice. Return juice to saucepan; discard fruit. Stir vinegar-cornstarch mixture again, then blend into juice in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until juice is thickened and bubbly.

Drizzle each serving of chop with about 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce.

Per serving: 192 calories (38 percent from fat), 8 grams total fat (3 grams saturated), 60 milligrams cholesterol, 7 grams carbohydrates, 25 grams protein, 561 milligrams sodium, no dietary fiber.

Recipe developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss. To reach Jill Wendholt Silva, The Star’s food editor and restaurant critic, call 816-234-4347, send email to jsilva@kcstar.com or follow her on Facebook.

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