Published on 07/04/13

Eating healthy and Georgia grown

By Erica P. Techo

Peanuts and blueberries are some of the most popular Georgia grown foods, but they’re also some of the healthiest snacks.

Georgia's peanut crop is valued at over $580 million, and the blueberry crop is valued at about $250 million. Peanuts comprised almost 20 percent of Georgia’s row and forage crops, and blueberries represented 40 percent of the fruit and nut industry. The importance of these crops doesn’t end at the agricultural economy — both crops also bring nutritional value to the table.

Blueberries offer vitamins, phytochemicals and antioxidants with only 80 calories per cup. Peanuts are high in protein and unsaturated fats, providing over 10 percent of the recommended daily intake of protein in each one-ounce serving.

“Blueberries and peanuts are wonderful Georgia crops, and they can be enjoyed by school children and their families during the summer and into the school year,” said Mary Ann Johnson, Bill and June Flatt Professor of Foods and Nutrition with the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Both can also be enjoyed in countless recipes.

“For blueberries, they can be eaten fresh, and a bunch of people enjoy them frozen, especially in the summer … and for peanuts, they’re best enjoyed roasted. There aren’t many people who enjoy eating peanuts raw.”

To maintain the health benefits of blueberries, Johnson said it is best to serve the berries whole and to be wary of extra sugars in prepackaged snacks.

“Watch for yogurts that don’t have extra sugar because blueberries already have such great natural flavor,” Johnson said. By adding blueberries to yogurt with no added sugar, the snack remains nutritious yet delicious.

Roasted peanuts and peanut butter retain their raw counterpart’s nutrients, but Johnson cautioned against eating peanuts in candy bars.

Ready to enjoy Georgia grown goodies? Here are some easy, healthy recipes to try.

Blueberry Oatmeal Squares

  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 3 tablespoons apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Coat baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Place all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix until combined.
  • Pour mixture into prepared pan and back for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes and cut into squares.

    (Recipe from

    Fresh Fruit Burrito

  • Four 6-inch flour tortillas
  • 4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 banana
  • 4 medium fresh strawberries
  • 1 medium fresh peach
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 4 tablespoons vanilla yogurt

  • Wash fresh strawberries, blueberries and peach. Peel peach, half and remove pit.
  • Spread 1 tablespoon peanut butter evenly on each flour tortilla to within 1/2 inch of edge.
  • Place in a line in the center of tortilla, 1/4 sliced banana, 1 sliced fresh strawberry, ¼ thinly sliced peach and 1 tablespoon blueberries.
  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon vanilla yogurt over the fruit.
  • Fold one side of tortilla over the fruit. Tuck the edge under the fruit so it’s not loosely packed. Roll the folded portion to the other side of the burrito.

    (Recipe from

    Ten Minute Blueberry Jam

  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar or honey granules
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch

  • Pour blueberries, water and sugar into a medium saucepan. Bring fruit to a boil.
  • Taste fruit for sweetness. Add more sugar if preferred.
  • With a potato masher, mash the fruit.
  • In a separate bowl, mix arrowroot or cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water. Mix well so there are no lumps.
  • Pour arrowroot/cornstarch mixture into the boiling fruit mixture and stir.
  • Boil until jam has thickened to desired texture.

    (Recipe from )

    Georgia Blueberry Date and Nuts Bar

  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (8 oz.) package chopped dates
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups Georgia blueberries
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon Confectioners' sugar

  • Beat butter and salt until creamy. Add eggs and beat until blended.
  • Combine next 4 ingredients. Stir alternately with milk into sugar mixture.
  • Fold in dates, pecans and blueberries.
  • Spread in a greased 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.
  • Bake in a preheated moderate oven, 350 degrees F, about 35 minutes or until done.
  • Cool. Then dust with confectioners' sugar. Cut into 24 bars.

    (Recipe from

    Best Ever Georgia Blueberry Muffins

  • 1 3/4 cups sifted enriched flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup salad oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup fresh Georgia blueberries, tossed lightly in 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, well-beaten

  • Sift dry ingredients into mixing bowl; make a well in the center.
  • Combine egg, milk and salad oil. Add all at once to dry ingredients.
  • Stir quickly only until dry ingredients are moistened.
  • Stir Georgia blueberries gently into batter.
  • Fill greased muffin pans – lined with paper cups – 2/3 full.
  • Bake at 400 degrees F about 25 minutes.

    (Recipe from

    Peanut Butter Dip

  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon chocolate syrup
  • 2 tablespoons low fat plain yogurt
  • Chocolate sprinkles (optional)

  • Combine peanut butter and chocolate syrup, mixing until well blended.
  • Stir in yogurt, top with sprinkles if desired.
  • Serve with 1 cup assorted carrot and celery sticks, sliced cucumbers, apples or pear slices.

    (Recipe from the

    Fruity Peanut Butter Spread

  • 1 medium apple, quartered but not peeled
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • In a food processor, chop apple and cranberries.
  • In a small bowl, combine peanut butter, orange juice and cinnamon.
  • Stir apple/cranberry mixture into peanut butter mixture.
  • Cover and refrigerate.

    (Recipe from the American Peanut Council)

    Peanut Butter and banana Quesadilla

  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter?
  • 2 (6 inch) whole wheat flour tortillas?
  • 1/2 cup fresh banana slices?
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Spread peanut butter over one tortilla.
  • Top with banana slices and cinnamon. Close quesadilla with remaining tortilla.
  • Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat; coat with cooking spray. Add quesadilla and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown.
  • Cut into four wedges and serve immediately.

    (Recipe from

    Crunchy Energizing Peanut Butter Balls

  • 5 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter?
  • 2 ½ cups corn flakes cereal? ¾ cups raisins

  • Using a blender or a small food processor, puree the raisins to make approximately 4 tablespoons of raisin puree.
  • In a large bowl, mix and blend all ingredients well with hands, smashing the corn flakes.
  • Shape mixture into ten one inch balls. Put them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 10 balls.

    (Recipe from

    Peanut Pick-Me-Up Snack MIx

  • 1 pound roasted peanuts?
  • ½ cup dried tart cherries, dried ?
  • ½ cup dark chocolate covered raisins?
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds?
  • ½ cup dried figs, chopped

  • Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.
  • Mix can store for up to three weeks in an airtight container.

    (Recipe from

Erica Techo, a communications intern with UGA Extension, is studying English and Political Science at the University of Georgia.

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