A half a cup of blueberries or two and a half cups of broccoli? As you learned from this weeks video, you can’t underestimate these small berries with BIG benefits. By no means are we bashing broccoli but these pint sized blueberries are packed with health promoting antioxidants. In fact, compared to other fruits and vegetables, blueberries are at the very top of the antioxidants chart.
Not only are blueberries packed with vitamin C and manganese, blueberries are also high in anthocyanins, which have strong anti-inflammatory properties and are important for eye, heart, and nervous system health.
Some of the other antioxidants in blueberries are ellagic acid, which is believed to help fight cancer, and resveratrol, which helps lower LDL cholesterol. Blueberries are also a good source of fiber.
To learn more about the health benefits and fun facts of blueberries check out of Nutrition Factors Library.
How to Pick the BEST Blueberries in the Patch!
Not quite sure how to tell when blueberries are at their best? According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, you can tell that blueberries are ripe by their appearance. Ripe blueberries are plump, firm, and uniform in both their dark blue color and size. Don’t be concerned by the whitish bloom the blueberries also have, it is actually a good thing because it serves as a protective waxy coat. However, blueberries with a reddish tinge are probably not yet ripe.
Choosing blueberries that are the right degree of ripeness in supermarkets can still be a challenge due to the cellophane cover packaging. You won’t be able to see the berries on the bottom. However, if the container isn’t dry or you see any stains on the outside of the box, it is a clear indication that at least some of the berries are mashed or moldy. Another good way to make sure the blueberries are not overripe is to shake the container. The berries should move around freely. Ripe fresh blueberries have a very short shelf life before they go bad. Unless you freeze them for later use, figure on 3 days at most in the refrigerator. Blueberries should be washed only when you are ready to eat them.
BONUS TASTY TIPS: Want some new, fresh ideas on adding more blueberries into your diet? You’re in luck! Here are some creative, out-of-the-box uses for blueberries:
- Chicken Salad: Blueberries blend beautifully when tossed into a homemade chicken salad. The contrast in color, texture, and taste is all that is needed to make an ordinary everyday dish extraordinary when a little added blueberry sweetness.
- Blueberry parfait: Place alternating layers of low-fat vanilla yogurt, granola, and blueberries in a parfait glass. Include strawberries and bananas or any of your favorite fruits, too, if you wish. Serve with a teaspoon of honey and a dollop of low fat whipped cream.
- Blueberry Pancakes: Nothing makes Sunday Brunch better than adding fresh blueberries to pancake, waffle, or muffin batter. You can also sprinkle some plump, ripe blue berries on top of these breakfast classics.
- Blueberry jam, jelly, or syrup: Blueberries can make a great sweetener for various dishes. Try to make your own or buy products that are more natural and don’t contain added sugars. To make your own blueberry syrup, place frozen blueberries in a small sauce pan on medium heat, add a little vanilla extract, and a spoon full of honey or brown sugar and let simmer and mash in blueberries while mixing. By making your own from the many recipes in our database you can stay in control of how much sugar is added and avoid excessive calories while still enjoying your food!
- Blueberry smoothie: There are so many yummy variations of the blueberry smoothie in our database. One of our favorites is linked here
- Oatmeal with berries: Sprinkling a handful of ripe blueberries to your oatmeal is yet another way that blueberries can make your morning delicious and nutritious.
- Blueberry soup: Serve chilled for a deliciously refreshing summer dinner the first course.
- Blueberry salad dressing, sauce, or dessert topping: Once again homemade goods keeps you in control because you choose what to add! For a blueberry salad dressing blend a handful of blueberries, equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar, with a spoonful of brown sugar or honey for a sweet, blueberry summer salad dressing.
- Blueberry Beverages Adding some blueberries to your beverages is a fun way to pack in more fruit in your diet. For example, you can add a some frozen blueberries instead of ice to your lemonade for a new twist on this refreshing classic or stay hydrated by adding blueberries to teas and infused water.
For more sweet and savory ways to add antioxidant rich, blueberries into your diet check out our recipe data base where you can find awesome recipes like Blueberry Popsicles or this scrumptious Apple Blue Berry Crisp
Corriher, S. (2017, June/July). Choosing fruit that’s fully ripe. Fine Cooking. Retrieved from http://www.finecooking.com/article/choosing-fruit-thats-truly-ripe
Dziemianowicz, J. (2017, June 21). How to tell if your favorite summer fruits are ripe. New York Daily News. Retrieved from http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/big-town/favorite-summer-fruits-ripe-article-1.3266307
Still Tasty (2017). Your ultimate shelf life guide: Keep it or toss it. Retrieved from http://www.stilltasty.com/