By MCT News service

Blueberry season is well under way - don't let it slip by.

In addition to tasting delicious, blueberries are good for you, too. Chock-full of antioxidants, they are also a good source of vitamins A, C, E and beta carotene.

Don't let all those fresh, locally produced berries go to waste: Use them in this icebox blueberry cheesecake.

It incorporates Hammonton's proudest export into the cream-cheese filling itself, for a smooth, blended flavor. But you also can add some layers - and impress the in-laws, to boot - with the optional fresh-berry topping. Made, from scratch, it's actually a cinch to throw together. Plus, you can serve it cold for a fresh, summery take, or reheat it just before scooping over individual portions for serving.

Icebox Blueberry Cheesecake

Crust ingredients:

•11/3 cups graham cracker crumbs

•5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

•1/2 cup rolled oats

•3 tablespoons light brown sugar

•1/8 teaspoon salt

Filling ingredients:

•1/4 cup cold water

•1 envelope unflavored gelatin

•12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

•1 cup whipping cream

•1 3/4 cups blueberries

•1 cup granulated sugar

•1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Sauce ingredients:

•2 pints blueberries or raspberries

•1/2 cup sugar or to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the crust ingredients. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes or until crisp. Remove from oven and cool.

To make the filling: Place the cold water in a heatproof bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let soften, 2 minutes.

In a food processor fitted with steel blade, combine the cream cheese, heavy cream, blueberries, sugar and lemon juice; process until smooth.

Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer. Place the bowl of gelatin over the pan with the water and heat, whisking constantly until it melts, about 1 minute.

With the food processor running, pour the gelatin through the feed tube into the cheese and process until smooth. Scrape into the crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely set, about 6 hours or overnight.

For sauce: Combine the berries and sugar and stir, mashing about half of the berries with the back of a spoon and leaving the remaining berries intact. Let stand, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. You can refrigerate this for up to 6 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Release the cake from the pan. Slice and serve the cake with the sauce on the side.

Servings: 12