It’s blueberry season in B.C. which means tasty simple snacks at your fingertips, and it’s a great time to stock up on berries for the winter months. Blueberries are a delicious low calorie, high fibre fruit with only 40 calories per ½ cup and 2.4g of fibre. Blueberries are also a source of vitamin C containing 25% of your daily requirements. They are also full of antioxidants such as anthocyanidins which give them their red/blue pigments as well as ellagic acid. Research shows that these antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and may help reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer.
Looks for berries with a firm, plump smooth skin and a silvery sheen called “bloom”. Avoid soft mushy fruit and containers with moldy fruit. The size of the berry does not affect the flavour or sweetness, but the colour does. The more reddish berries are not quite ripe and will taste sour or tart. These berries are best for baking.
Blueberries should be refrigerated as soon as you get them home. Keep them in their original container or put them in a covered bowl or storage container. Fresh blueberries should last 10 days from the day of purchase. Rinse berries just before using them. If you wash blueberries before freezing them be sure to allow them to dry first. You can freeze blueberries without washing them first but be sure to rinse them before eating them.
Baking: Add blueberries to muffins and pancakes for a delicious burst of moisture and flavour
Topping: Heat blueberries in the microwave with maple syrup and pour over plain yogurt, oatmeal or pancakes.
Salads: Sprinkle on spinach salad with walnuts and goat cheese
Smoothies: Blend fresh or frozen blueberries with banana, almond butter and almond milk for a creamy breakfast shake.
Ice cubes: Freeze in apple juice or water for a fancy addition to sparkling water or lemonade
Sauce: Cook blueberries with chipotle peppers and serve with grilled chicken or pork tenderloin