Blueberries: One of Nature’s Most Perfect Foods!

17 07 2014

July is National Blueberry Month, and what a perfect time to find out how amazing these sweet little berries are!Cathy head shot

Blueberries rank only second to strawberries as the nation’s most popular berry. There are more species of blueberries native to North America than any other continent. Ripe and plentiful in the summer months, you will find the locals flocking to blueberry farms for some “you-pick-em” fun! We are fortunate enough to have an organic blueberry farm nearby (where we can eat while we pick!), so we have enough blueberries to eat (like candy!) and freeze for the fall and winter months.

Health benefits of blueberries:
Blueberries are low in calories (about 80 calories per cup) and have one of the highest antioxidant values of all fruits. These phytochemical properties help the body combat free radicals that damage cell structures and DNA, thus potentially helping protect the body from a variety of cancers, as well as the effects of aging and degenerative diseases. Regular consumption of blueberries (1-2 cups per day for 1-3 months) is linked to improved cardiovascular health as well, particularly in the areas of improving lipid balances in the body, protecting the lining of blood vessel walls, and supporting healthy blood pressure. For all you have ever wanted to know and much more, visit The World’s Healthiest Foods at http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=8 .

When looking for fresh blueberries, look for ones that are firm, plump, smooth, and have a silver/gray surface sheen. The color should be deep purple-blue or blue-black. Store your blueberries in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator, preferably in a drawer with high relative humidity. They should keep there for up to a week.

To freeze your berries, wash, pat dry, and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer until frozen solid, then transfer to a freezer bag and force out the excess air before sealing. They can be stored frozen for up to a 6 months in a conventional freezer, and up to a year in a stand alone freezer.

So this weekend, head out for some blueberry picking or visit your local farmer’s market, then discover some delicious new recipes like:

Blueberry Oatmeal Cakes: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/breakfast_blueberry_oatmeal_cakes.html

Blueberry Fields Salad: Blueberry Fields Salad

 

 

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