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Blueberries

blueberries

Blueberries

The flavour of blueberries should definitely be enjoyed year-round!  Depending on whether you’re preparing blueberries in a pie or simply eating them out of hand, their flavour ranges from mildly sweet to super sweet!  These little berries also contribute to our well being with their vitamin C, antioxidants and fibre. 

Blueberry Varieties:

Throughout the year, we typically see the beautiful, plump cultivated blueberries, but every summer we see smaller wild blueberries pop up in the market. The main difference between wild and cultivated blueberries are their size, as cultivated blueberries are typically larger than wild blueberries. Since most of a blueberry’s antioxidants and other health benefits are found in the skin, per cup, there will be more skin per cup of wild blueberries than cultivated, due to their size.

Both varieties of blueberries are delicious and healthy! We love to take advantage of the short season of wild blueberries and enjoy the cultivated ones all year round.

How To Select Blueberries:

Choose blueberries that are firm and have a lively, uniform blue colour. Avoid berries that are dull in colour or soft and watery in texture (as the presence of moisture will cause them to decay).

Give the container a shake to see whether the berries move freely.  If they don’t, this may be a sign that they are soft and damaged or moldy.

How To Store Blueberries:

Store ripe blueberries in a covered container in the refrigerator. Here they will keep for up to three days.  If kept out at room temperature for more than a day, the berries may spoil.

How to Freeze:

Blueberries are extremely easy to freeze and store for later use! Buy them in abundance in the summer and freeze them for a batch of Sunday blueberry pancakes every now and then. To freeze, wash blueberries and remove any stems and spoiled blueberries. Arrange on a clean tea towel to gently blot dry. Transfer to a lined baking sheet and flash freeze the cleaned and dried blueberries until frozen. Transfer to an airtight container and use within 8 months.

How To Prepare Blueberries:

Your berries shouldn’t be washed until you are ready to eat them, as washing will remove the bloom that protects the berries’ skin from spoiling. Fresh berries are very fragile. They should be washed briefly and carefully and then gently pat them dry.  You can also spin them dry in salad spinner.

Blueberry Tips:

  • Before storing, remove any crushed or moldy berries to prevent the rest from spoiling.
  • Like other tender fruit, blueberries have a natural bloom or slight white coating. This is naturally created by the plant to protect the fruit so wait to wash your berries until you are ready to enjoy them.
  • Freeze blueberries on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Once frozen, transfer them to a re-sealable bag or container. This keeps them from sticking together.
  • Add frozen blueberries to a smoothie, yogurt, oatmeal, etc.
  • When shopping in the store, give the container of fresh berries a shake to see whether they move freely.  If they don’t, this may be a sign that they are soft and damaged or moldy.
  • Wash your blueberries in a salad spinner to keep them intact and dry them at the same time!

What Goes Well With Blueberries?

Produce: bananas, lemon, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, mango, spinach, lemon, lime, watermelon, beets, orange, kiwi, and coconut

Herbs, Spices & Sweets: cinnamon, ginger, honey, maple syrup, nutmeg, vanilla, mint, and basil

Savoury: oatmeal, granola, almonds, walnuts, pork, cornmeal, and chicken

Dairy: cream cheese, sour cream, crème fraîche, cream, yogurt, mascarpone, goat cheese, ricotta, and buttermilk

Serving Ideas: 

Everybody knows that blueberry muffins are a perfect breakfast, but don’t forget that blueberry pancakes or blueberry sauce on waffles can bring breakfast to a whole new level.

Blueberries are also classic in crisps and cobblers! Blueberries and lemons are a match made in heaven beneath a blanket of oat streusel or biscuits, topped with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream.

Add blueberries to your favourite greens like kale or spinach and pair with some salty cheese like feta to have a delicious and complex textured salad!

For a spin on your traditional bruschetta, try this gorgeous blueberry and beet bruschetta at your next gathering. It will be sure to wow your guests with its striking colour and flavour.

And after a long week, wind down with some blueberry mojitos. Muddle blueberries with mint to get extra flavour and a beautiful hue to your drink.

Get creative with your desserts! Try this simple blueberry chia pudding,  make blueberry s’mores or try making your own bark – perfect for a hostess gift, teacher gift or just a treat for yourself!

Nutrition:

According to the Canadian Nutrient File, 1 cup (250 mL/153 g) of blueberries contain a great number of your daily-recommended intake of nutrients: 37% of Vitamin K, 25% of Vitamin C, 16% of fibre (4 g), 4% of folate, 4% of magnesium, 3% of iron, and 123 µg of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.

 

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