Food Focus: Blueberries

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who didn’t know that blueberries were nutritious. Blueberries have recently skyrocketed to the top of many experts’ must-have superfoods. These sweet little fruits are packed with tons of good-for-you nutrients that’ll make your body leap with joy! Celebrate National Blueberry Month and learn all about why blueberries should be a cornerstone of your diet.

What do they look like?

Blueberries are small, darkly-colored nearly-spherical berries. The smallest blueberries are usually wild and are about the size of a pencil-top eraser. The larger and plumper blueberries can get as big as a quarter! The name “blueberry” is actually a bit of a misnomer because the skin of a berry can range from bright blue to deep purple and the inside is usually a pale green color.

What do they taste like?

Fresh blueberries tend to be the most tart of all the common supermarket berries. A good, ripe blueberry should be lightly sweet, tart, and just a little bit juicy. A less ripe blueberry can be pucker-inducing, whereas a perfectly ripe blueberry can taste almost sugary sweet. Blueberries are very soft and fragile, so be careful not to smash them.

Why are they good for me?

Blueberries are at the top of the charts for antioxidants among common household fruits. Thanks to their wide range of antioxidants, blueberries are good for pretty much every part of your body! Food-based antioxidants help block free radicals from doing damage to your cells, and a diet rich with antioxidants may help reduce your risk of certain cancers. They’ll also help your heart and keep your vision and mind sharp. Enjoy your berries raw to get the most antioxidants.

When and where do I get them?

They are available fresh year-round in most grocery stores, but for the best flavor and nutrition, try to seek out local and organic sources of blueberries in early summer. Craving berries in the dead of winter? Frozen is a great option. Studies have shown that freezing blueberries does little to damage the nutritional benefits of the berry. When looking for frozen, keep an eye out for bags of wild blueberries—they have twice the antioxidants of farm-raised blueberries!

How do I prepare blueberries?

For the best flavor and nutrition, stick with eating blueberries raw. You can eat them on their own, or they work nicely as a topping to cereal, yogurt or oatmeal. If you’re cooking the berries, just make sure to rinse them under the water before hand.

What are some good recipes?

Raw is the way to go for optimal nutrition and flavor. But if you’re looking for a way to spice things up, try some of these delicious blueberry treats!

Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Muffins
Quinoa Almond Berry Salad
Lemon Blueberry Coconut Pancakes
Frozen Yogurt Covered Blueberries
Blueberry Mini Tarts
Lemon-Blueberry Overnight Oats

What’s your favorite way to eat blueberries?

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Cassie Johnston is an award-winning food writer and recipe developer living and working in Southern Indiana. Her work has been feature in national publications such as Gourmet Magazine and The Huffington Post. Cassie’s a big fan of strenuous hikes, cheese, watching sports, Brussels sprouts, and craft beer, and she’ll talk your ear off about her love of local food and seasonal eating. She’s obsessed with social media and loves connecting with new friends!

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