Blueberries

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: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. They’re a low-maintenance fruit. Buy ’em and rinse ’em. They don’t need to be peeled, cored, sliced or stemmed.
  6. 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.
  7. They’re an ideal breakfast food. Boost your breakfast’s heart-protective benefits by adding blueberries to oatmeal, cold cereal, pancakes and smoothies.
  8. 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