Summer bequeaths us an abundance of fresh, juicy, organic blueberries, which you can easily find at natural and organic food stores, mainstream supermarkets, farmers’ markets and roadside stands.
Here are 8 reasons to go blue:
- Blueberries represent America at her finest. Only three fruits are native to North America: blueberries, cranberries and Concord grapes. The first colonists adopted the Native American practice of picking fresh blueberries in the summer and drying them for winter consumption.
- They’re at their seasonal peak. Fresh blueberries are available for almost 8 months in the United States and Canada. The North American harvest runs from mid-April through early October, with peak harvest in mid-May through August.
- They’re a nutritional powerhouse. A half-cup serving has only 40 calories and provides 2 g fiber and 10% of your daily vitamin C requirement. Blueberries are also high in antioxidants that help fight cancer and protect your skin.
- They’re easy to buy. When shopping, look for berries that are dry, firm, plump, purple-blue to blue-black, well-shaped and smooth-skinned. Be sure to avoid containers with juice stains, which often indicate blueberries are crushed and/or moldy. Eat blueberries within a week of purchase.
- They’re a low-maintenance fruit. Buy ’em and rinse ’em. They don’t need to be peeled, cored, sliced or stemmed.
- They’re easy to freeze for winter enjoyment. Buy them in season. Then, place unwashed, completely dry berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Pop the cookie sheet in the freezer. Once blueberries are frozen, transfer them to freezer containers. They’ll last 10 months to 1 year.
- They’re an ideal breakfast food. Boost your breakfast’s heart-protective benefits by adding blueberries to oatmeal, cold cereal, pancakes and smoothies.
- They’re extremely versatile. Add a new recipe to your repertoire, such as American Fruit Basket, Blueberry & Red Onion Compote, Poppy Seed Fruit Salad and Triple Berry Granola Crisp.
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council