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Blueberries

Blueberries

Time for the summertime blues…blueberries that is! Delicious and easy to use; they’re one of nature’s perfect little packages. No peeling, coring or cutting—just pick, rinse and enjoy. These tiny berries prove that great things do come in small packages.

Blueberry Nutrition

Don't let their small size fool you! At only 85 calories per 1-cup serving, those little blue berries contain:

  • Antioxidants: They're important to cell health, protecting them from harmful oxidation. One such antioxidant is Vitamin C.
  • Vitamin C: It boosts the immune system, plus helps body tissue heal quicker and promotes healthy gums.
  • Fiber: It's critical to digestive health and blueberries are a good source of fiber with about 10% of your daily need in a 1-cup serving.

Varieties

There are two types of blueberries:

  • Highbush blueberries are cultivated and grown for primarily commercial use.
  • Lowbush blueberries are wild and occur naturally,growing on carpet-like vines in northern areas.

Picking

Blueberries are in peak season from late May to mid-August. They do not ripen after picking,  so pick only berries that are fully ripe and firm with that gorgeous indigo color.

Purchasing

Wild blueberries, often from Maine, tend to be smaller and sweeter, making them ideal for baking.  They are available canned in juice and frozen whole.

Using Fresh

Brightly-flavored fresh blueberries work well with both sweet and savory dishes. Layer with yogurt and granola for a healthful breakfast, toss with mixed greens and grilled chicken or salmon for a summery salad, or top with a bit of sweetened whipped cream for a simple, delectable dessert.

TIP:  When cooking or baking, remember one pint of blueberries equals 2 cups.

Storage

Cover berries and store in the refrigerator   They will keep up to 10 days. Wash them just before using.

Freezing

Freezing blueberries is easy and convenient. No need to wash them because their natural, waxy coating protects them when frozen.

Spread berries on a cookie sheet, or in a baking pan, and freeze until berries are frozen. Transfer them to a freezer container or a plastic freezer bag.

TIP:  If you’re planning to use frozen blueberries in baked goods, the color may bleed into the batter, if thawed. To prevent this, be sure the berries are frozen solid and stir them into the batter just before baking.

Cooked

Blueberries maintain their sweet flavor, beautiful hue, and spherical shape when heated, making them a perfect choice for the beloved blueberry muffin and other baked goods. This versatile berry can also be added to a cooked sauce of sugar and lemon juice and used as a topping for pancakes, waffles, French toast, and ice cream.

Preserving

Blueberries can be canned in the form of jam, jelly, syrup or juice. Add a few drops of lemon juice to retain the fruit's natural flavor and color.

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