Cooking With Blueberries

It's blueberry season here in Oregon, and the delicious fruit isn't just good tasting, it is also very good for you. Blueberries contain powerful antioxidants and are considered a super food.  Author of, "The Superfoods RX Diet,"  Doctor Wendy Bazilian shows us how to incorporate blueberries into every meal.

Blueberry Basics

HOW TO BUY BLUEBERRIES

  • Fresh blueberries are most plentiful during the summer months, but you will find them in the market all year round, along with frozen, canned and dried blueberries.
  • When purchasing fresh blueberries, look for firm, plump, dry berries with smooth skins and a silvery sheen. Size doesn’t matter, but color does—reddish berries aren’t ripe, but can be used in cooking.
  • Avoid soft or shriveled fruit, or any signs of mold. Containers with juice stains indicate that the fruit may be bruised.

HOW TO STORE BLUEBERRIES

  • Refrigerate fresh blueberries as soon as you get them home, in their original plastic pack or in a covered bowl or storage container.
  • Wash berries just before use.
  • Use within 10 days of purchase.

HOW TO FREEZE BLUEBERRIES

  • The secret to successful freezing is to use berries that are unwashed and completely dry. Discard berries that look bruised or shriveled.
  • Place the berries, still in their original plastic pack, in a resealable plastic bag. Or, transfer berries to freezer containers or resealable freezer bags. The berries will freeze individually and you can remove just the portion you need.
  • Remember to rinse them before using.

BLUEBERRY SERVING SUGGESTIONS

  • Add blueberries to your favorite muffin recipe—about 1 cup for each batch of 12 muffins. Gently stir in the blueberries at the end (unthawed, if frozen).
  • Dot pancake batter with blueberries as soon as batter has been poured on the griddle.
  • Make a breakfast parfait by layering blueberries with flavored yogurt and granola cereal in a tall glass.
  • Sprinkle blueberries and chopped walnuts over dressed mixed greens.
  • Serve blueberries with sour cream or yogurt or with a scoop of cottage cheese.

BLUEBERRY NUTRITION FACTS

  • Only 80 fat-free calories per cup, blueberries are a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C.
  • Blueberries rank high in antioxidants that help protect against cancer, heart disease and other age-related diseases.
  • Researchers have found compounds in blueberries that help prevent urinary tract infection.
  • Just one-half cup of blueberries helps meet the recommended 5 to 9 servings a day of colorful fruits and veggies.

 BLUEBERRY FUN FACTS

  • Today, we can have fresh blueberries with our cereal all year round. During our winter months, fresh blueberries come from Chile and Argentina, where it’s summertime.
  • A single bush can produce as many as 6,000 blueberries a year.
  • There are only three fruits native to North America: blueberries, cranberries and Concord grapes.
  • Botanists estimate that blueberries have been around for more than 13,000 years. Native Americans gave blueberries to the new settlers, helping them make it through their first winter.
  • July is National Blueberry Month in the U.S. August is National Blueberry Month in Canada.
  • The blueberry is the official state fruit of New Jersey.
  • The blueberry muffin is the official muffin of Minnesota. It’s also the most popular muffin in the U.S.

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