Blueberries

Season for Blueberries May – September


Blueberries Described

The blueberry – deep in colors ranging from maroon to navy and almost black – are little bursts of either tart and tangy or mildly sweet flavor. Grabbing a bucket and taking a trek to your favorite blueberry bush will likely yield the most delicious and tiny wild specimens, more flavorful than those cultivated commercially that, while large and plump, lack the intensity of their smaller, wild counterparts. If you peel the vivid skin of a blueberry, what lies beneath is a semi-transparent flesh that encases tiny seeds in this berry related to the cranberry and the bilberry.


How to Buy and Store Blueberries

When selecting your blueberries, as tempting as it may be, don’t go for the attractively large specimens. Instead, opt for those that are small yet plump and firm with a uniform deep, dark color and a silvery frost on their skins. This “bloom” is natural, protects the blueberry and is also a sign of freshness. Avoid soft, shriveled or moldy berries, or those that are dull in color or appear to be moist. 

When you get home, weed through the container to remove any blueberries that have gone bad, for they will quickly spoil the bunch. Make sure you don’t wash your blueberries until you’re ready to use them. In fact, if you get your berries organically and locally, you may want to forego the washing all together! Store blueberries in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days, or freeze them for later usage. 


How to Cook Blueberries

If you’re washing your berries (as you most likely will unless you trust the source), place them in a bowl of cool water and swish them around gently. Drain and blot your berries dry with a towel. Now, your berries are ready to be eaten out of hand or added to your recipe. Blueberries can be added to all manner of desserts, from pie to muffins to ice cream, or used as an addition to cereals, oatmeal, fruit salad and yogurt. They also make a beautiful garnish (can we say cupcake topping?), and dried blueberries can be added to salads for a tangy, slightly sweet element. 


Health Benefits of Blueberries

This berry is bursting with nutritional valor – seriously. A recent Tufts University study analyzed 60 fruits and vegetables for their antioxidant capability, and blueberries came out on top. They rated highest in their capacity to destroy free radicals, canvasing the body and staving off diseases like cancer. Their significant amounts of anthocyanadins, a type of antioxidant that gives blue, purple and red colors to fruits and vegetables, and ellagic acid, another phytochemical that has been shown to prevent cell damage, make blueberries a health-giving allstar for those wanting to live healthfully into their golden years. 


Why Buy Natural and Organic Blueberries

According to the Environmental Working Group, domestically-grown blueberries are among the 12 foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. Those imported from other countries were found to be 14th on the list of 49 varieties tested, and have a high carbon foodprint. When it comes to the tender blueberry, in order to minimize your exposure to pesticides, we always opt for organic. Also, finding local blueberries at your farmers market or foraging for your own will likely yield the most delicious of this popular berry.