In my opinion, blueberries are sweet little pieces of happiness. I know not everyone shares that same opinion, however, in 2014, 563.2 million pounds of blueberries were utilized in the U.S. I’m probably only responsible for 60 pounds of that. When you look at all the research, these little fruits are kinda amazing.
Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are known as a superfood, meaning their low in calories and super good for you in terms of nutrition and your health. They are high in fiber and vitamins C and K, plus high in antioxidants. Did you know they can help protect against DNA damage? Eating blueberries on a regular basis has been linked to lowering blood pressure, improve brain function, improve lower blood sugar levels, and can reduce muscle damage after exercise, minimizing soreness. In fact, there is even evidence that suggests blueberries can prevent heart attacks. I think it’s safe to say that calling blueberries a superfood is an understatement.
How to Select Blueberries
There’s nothing worse than buying a nice, big container of blueberries only to get it home and find that all the blueberries in the middle are damaged, or even worse, moldy. When you’re buying your fresh berries, shake the container and see if they have room to move around. Also avoid blueberries who have a dull color or are really soft and/or squishy.
When I used to work in San Francisco, I would walk by the Ferry Building which is home to these huge farmers markets on the weekends. Every Friday in late summer there was a blueberry vendor that I would pass by when he was setting up and I just had to try his fruit one day. I bought a big brown paper bag of them and they were amazing! So if you have the opportunity to buy them at a farmers market, I highly recommend.
If you’re purchasing frozen blueberries for smoothies, you want to be weary of bags that have a big frozen chunk inside. This likely means they’ve been thawed and frozen already.
When you bring home your blueberries, go through the container and remove any pieces that are damaged or moldy so the rest do not spoil. Do not wash them until you are ready to eat them, as they have a protective layer that you want on there until it’s time to eat. Store them in the refrigerator in a covered container.They should last 3-4 days.
You can also freeze your blueberries to save for future smoothies. In this case you will want to wash them, pat them dry and put in a freezer bag. They will keep their antioxidants even if frozen. I’d store them for about two months at the most.
Baking with Blueberries
Wash your blueberries right before using them. Be sure to pat them dry so you do not add any excess liquid to your recipe. Since blueberries are about 85% water, sometimes you need to use dried blueberries in some baking recipes.
If you are using blueberries in pancakes or muffins, leave a little bit of the dry mixture aside and coat the blueberries with it. That will help them to not sink directly to the bottom.
Blueberry season is in full bloom right now, so they are super sweet and delicious. Eat them regularly to take advantage of the health benefits. Try this summer drink Blueberry-Watermelon Delight recipe below.