Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Spotlight On Produce: Blueberries

One of my favorite seasonal fruits to eat is the blueberry, and I look forward to having them fresh in my cereal all year long. I also love blueberry muffins, or mixed with yogurt, or eaten plain.

Blueberries are the fruits of a shrub and are related to cranberries, as well as azalea, mountain laurel and rhododendron. Blueberries grow in clusters and range from pea-sized to marble-sized. They are deep in color, ranging from blue to maroon to purple-black. Blueberries are available frozen all year long, but are at their best during the growing season of May through October.

Blueberries are a nutritional powerhouse, fairly bursting with nutrients for very few calories. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and are a good source of Vitamin C, manganese and dietary fiber.

When choosing blueberries, look for fruit with a bright, uniform hue. Shake the container; if the berries do not move freely, this may be an indication that they are soft and damaged or moldy. Avoid berries that appear dull in color or are soft and watery in texture. When purchasing frozen berries, shake the bag gently to ensure that the berries move freely and are not clumped together, which may suggest that they have been thawed and refrozen. Fresh blueberries can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Don't wash the berries until right before you eat them, as washing and storing can remove the protective film on the surface of the fruit and speed spoilage.

What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy blueberries?

1 comment:

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I love blueberries in English Trifels, on cheesecake, on a spinach salad, and in syrup over waffles. I hated them as a kid because they were always mushy. Now that I know how to pick good blue berries (firm and tight) I LOVE them. You can also buy them dried now and they are great on cereal that way.