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These blueberries can be used for breakfast, dinner and dessert

South Mississippi is singing the blues now.

No, not the hot, forlorn music, but the sweet berries. Blueberries are ripe for the picking or shopping. Last weekend, Poplarville hosted its annual Blueberry Jubilee, where nearly 10,000 folks come to enjoy and purchase the sweet berries.

Thanks to a great friend, my daughter, granddaughter and I spent Sunday picking blueberries. I don’t know what Calvin Coleman does to his bushes, but his blueberries are so sweet. Elyssa and Lilly were eating nearly as many as they were picking.

Coleman probably picked up his green thumb from his mother, Naomi, who most definitely has a green thumb. From plants to fruits, Mrs. Naomi can grow it. Since she is a former master gardener maybe that is the secret to her success. Well, like mother like son.

Of course, we always plan to pick in the late afternoon, but that never seems to happen. As usual, we were hot and gasping for cold water after berry picking. Why not just by the berries? It’s a matter of taste.

Perhaps it is all in my mind, but fresh blueberries just taste better. Blueberries not only taste good but are good for you. They are high in antioxidants, soluble fiber and vitamin C. To get the most nutrients out of the fruit it is important to pick or buy at the peak of freshness. Look at the color, too. Blueberries should be a dusty dark blue.

While eating the berries fresh, the blueberries also work well in smoothies, cobblers and pies. Cooking the berries decreases the amount of vitamin C.

Berry picking also is a tradition, one that I have done since childhood. Elyssa started picking berries when she was little. When we lived in Gulfport, she and friends found blackberry bushes in a gully area in the subdivision. No matter how many times we told them to stay out of the gulley, they kept going back for the berries.

I remember berry-picking with my grandmother. She had a favorite spot near a creek, but she kept a hoe beside her in

case she encountered a snake. The snakes, I didn’t like, but berry-picking with her and my grandfather was always fun. I want Lilly to have those same memories that are passed down to future generations.

Since the blues are ready for eating, I thought share recipes that use those sweet Mississippi blueberries.

If you want to pick your own blueberries, check out blueberry farms from Saucier to the Kiln to Picayune to Ocean Springs and Vancleave. Check out this link of u-pick farms, https://pickyourown.farm/farms/mississippi-ms-r3760/blueberries-prod3720/ Visitors can pick up recipes, tips and even blueberry pushes for growing your own.

TRIPLE BERRY BAKED OATMEAL

3 cups quick cooking oats (can use gluten-free quick oats)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 eggs

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups triple berry frozen fruit blend or use fresh blueberries, raspberries and strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl mix together all ingredients, except berries and combine well. Carefully stir in the berries.

Spread into a greased 9-by-13-inch pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until done. You want it set up, but not really dry. Serve warm drizzled with additional milk or cream if desired. – Fromwww.lynnskitchenadventures.com/

BLUEBERRY-LEMON ZEST ICE CREAM

2 cups coarsely chopped blueberries

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons water

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk

2 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon table salt

2 teaspoons lemon zest

Bring blueberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, and water to a boil in small saucepan over medium heat; reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, stirring often. Cool 30 minutes; cover and chill 2 to 3 hours.

Whisk together condensed milk and next 5 ingredients; cover and chill 2 hours.

Pour mix mixture into freezer container of a 1-quart electric ice cream

makes and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Instructions and times will vary.)

Remove container with ice cream from ice-cream makes and freeze 30 minutes.

Stir lemon zest into prepared ice-cream mixture and swirl in chilled blueberry mixture. Transfer mixture to an airtight container or a loaf pan covered tightly with aluminum foil; freeze 3 to 4 hours or until firm. – From Southern Living and www.myrecipes.com/

PORK TENDERLOIN WITH THREE-BERRY SALSA

1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen blackberries (about 6 ounces) thawed and drained

1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (about 6 ounces) thawed and drained

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (about 6 ounces), thawed

1 medium sweet red pepper, finely chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup lime juice

3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pork:

2 pork tenderloins (3/4 pound each(, cut into ¾-in slices

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth

2 shallots, thinly sliced

1/2 cup chicken stock

Place the first 5 ingredients in a bowl; toss lightly to combine. Reserve 1 cup berry mixture for sauce. For salsa, gently stir onion, lime juice, cilantro and salt into remaining mixture; let stand 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the pork and cook until a thermometer inserted in pork readers 145 degrees, 2-4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Repeat with remaining pork and oil.

In same pan, add wine, shallots and reserved berry mixture, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Bring to a boil; cook 4-6 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1 tablespoon. Stir in stock; cook 5 minutes longer or until shallots are tender, stirring occasionally. Return pork to pan; heat through. Serve with salsa.

Nutritional data: 3 ounces cooked pork with 2/3 cup salsa and 3 tablespoons sauce: 239 calories, 9 grams fat, 64 milligrams cholesterol, 645 milligrams sodium, 15 grams carbohydrates (7 grams sugar 5 grams fiber)l 25 grams protein. Diabetic exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1/2 starch, 1/2 fruit. – From Taste of Home magazine

Andrea Yeager can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net and Cooks Exchange, 205 DeBuys Road, Gulfport, MS 39507.

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