By Carolyn Brown, MS, RD
In case you need a reason to eat more blueberries, July is national blueberry month! I know you can barely contain your excitement. Blueberries are in season and at their prime both flavor and nutrition-wise mid-summer. Get yourself to your local farmers’ market or grocery store and get your berry on. Here’s why:
Blueberries are a great American superfood. Historically, blueberry roots were brewed in tea and used during childbirth to help women relax. OK, you don’t have to plan on giving birth with the aid of blueberries but there are plenty of other benefits to eating them too. One cup has 80 cals and lots of vitamins A and C and fiber. They are loaded with antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are responsible for that blue/dark purple hue. These antioxidants are anti-inflammatory and also show a lot of promise in fighting age-related diseases. A 2010 study showed daily blueberry consumption in aging adults (75 and older) led to significant improvement on learning and memory. Please pass the brain-boosting berries!
A few blueberry tips:
- Berry size doesn’t tell you if it’s ripe or will taste sweet, but its blue hue will. If berries are still reddish, they aren’t ripe enough.
- When blueberry buying, look for firm, plump, dry berries with smooth skin
- Don’t wash berries until you’re ready to eat them. If you wash them and then throw them back into the fridge, you’re asking for mold and a shorter shelf life. Ick.
- Freeze them unwashed, and they will maintain their nutrition and flavor. I love throwing frozen blueberries in smoothies, but you can also use them for recipes and baking.
- You can even dry blueberries and toss them into trail mix with nuts for a lower sugar alternative to raisins.
Now who wants to go blueberry picking? How do you eat blueberries? Any favorite recipes? Share them in the comments below or in our Food and Cooking community.