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.
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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