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Your Guide to Blueberries


photo of blueberries

Happy blueberry season! These delicious berries are in season June through August in the US.

Blueberries don’t grow on a tree or vine but on a shrub, which is like a large bush. Mature blueberry bushes are usually taller than kids and can be very wide around.

Blueberries are ready to be picked when they change from greenish to blue. Whether you pick them or buy them at the store, check blueberries carefully when you wash them. Toss any shriveled or moldy berries. Remove any stems. Rinse blueberries well right before you plan to use them, since water can cause berries to become moldy.

Did you know that blueberries are one of the most nutritious foods that you can eat? They're nutritionally dense, which means that even a small amount delivers lots of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Why are blueberries blue, anyway? They contain substance called anthocyanin, which has properties that protect the body’s cells, makes the berries appear blue. This same substance is in grapes.

An all-American food, blueberries first grew in North America, and its original inhabitants, Native Americans, discovered how delicious they are. They ate them fresh and dried. The Native American word for blueberries means “star berries.” If you notice, the calyx (or end) of the berry looks like a star.

How to eat more blueberries this summer

To start, a dish of just blueberries topped with a little whipped cream makes a delicious breakfast or dessert.

You can also try brainstorming ways to add more blueberries to your meals. Sprinkle some on top of oatmeal or cold cereal. Add to spinach or Romaine lettuce and top with sweet, tangy balsamic dressing. Jazz up plain yogurt with some nuts and blueberries.

For an historic twist, try sautauthig. Sautauthig (pronounced sawi-taw-teeg) is a rustic blueberry cake made by Native Americans in the 1600s. The pilgrims learned how to make it. If you'd like to try it, here's a recipe.

Our favorite application of these nutritional powerhouses? Blueberry pancakes! A quick tip for you breakfast fans: toss fresh blueberries in flour to coat before adding to pancake batter. This prevents batter from turning blue.

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