Blueberries are a great source of fiber and vitamin C while being low is sodium and calories. In a recent study of 60 fruits and vegetables, blueberries were ranked with the highest antioxidant properties (ability to destroy free radicals). They are a great brain food, increasing memory and improving learning. They help promote urinary tract health as well as cranberries. And blueberries improve vision.
Blueberries are grown on bushes and native to North America, grown in the wooded and mountainous regions. There are about 30 different species of blueberries. They have only been commercially cultivated within the last hundred years. Now over 200 million pounds are cultivated annually.
When buying blueberries in the market, look for firm, plump berries. They should be dry (to prevent molding) and relatively free of stems and leaves. Old berries will start to look winkled and shriveled. Store them covered in the refrigerator for up to 10 days and only wash them just prior to use.
Michigan hosts at least four blueberries festivals. August 4 - 5, Imlay City hosts the Blueberry Festival. August 10 - 13, South Haven hosts the National Blueberry Festival. August 16 - 20, Montrose hosts the Montrose Blueberry Festival. August 18 - 20, Paradise hosts the Wild Blueberry Festival.
When thinking of blueberries in food, I am sure blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes and blueberry jam come to mind. But how about trying these:
Warm Blueberry and Mango Compote served over a nice salmon or tuna filet
Or try substituting dried blueberries for either dried cranberries or dried cherries in your favorite recipe.
Let me know if you try the above recipes, I would be interested to hear what you think.