Star Berries

Or better known as blueberries, this healthful fruit is known by its five points on the bottom.New England (especially Maine) is famous for its small, wild low-bush blueberries, but I've never found a blueberry I didn't like. You might know this fruit as vaccinium. This is the family name of all blueberries, which encompasses over 450 plants.

The three Native American varieties most people connect with are the wild blueberries, also called low-bush blueberries, and the northern high-bush blueberry, mostly commercially grown. Last is the southern rabbiteye blueberry, so named because the blossom end of each berry is said to look like a rabbit's eye. The blossom end of all blueberries form a perfect five-point star, hence its Native American name of star berry.

In New England blueberries are ready for picking usually by the middle of July - National Blueberry Month - and into late August when you start looking for ways to utilize these rich, dark purple berries that are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Blueberries have such a great flavor and you feel so good eating 'em knowing how good they are for you.

But here is my advice for getting the most health benefits out of these berries - eat plain uncooked blueberries, do not use heat. I agree, they do taste great in cookies, cobblers, muffins and pies, but for best results, do not heat. They are just perfect when sprinkled over your morning cereal or yogurt. And blueberries dipped in melted dark chocolate is quite the treat. Blueberries and mascarpone cheese is a combination that is unforgettable.

As blueberrries go, the popularity of the blueberry is only going to increase. And remember, the best blueberries are the ones grown locally.

in Mascarpone

8 ounces mascarpone cheese

2 tablespoons powdered sugar 
 (more if you like it sweeter)

1/4 cup heavy cream

splash of vanilla extract

In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients above and whip until smooth and slightly thickened. Spoon the mascarpone cream into small dessert glasses or dishes and top with blueberries. If you prefer the blueberries to be juicier, mix 3 cups of blueberries with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and a pinch of granulated sugar. Let set for about 20 minutes and the little bit of sugar will help draw out the blueberry juices while the acid in lemon juice helps highlight the blueberry flavor. For added texture, serve shortbread or sugar cookies on the side.

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