How can something so small, be so mighty? Our resident blueberry lovers have answers. These little gems are delicious, for sure. But they’re so much more than that. Here are some did-you-knows and how-tos that are sure to give you a new appreciation for this fresh-picked powerhouse.
How to Choose the Blues
You’ll want your berries to be even in size, with smooth, unbroken skin that’s deep purple to nearly black in color. A silvery coating (or “bloom”) on blueberries is normal. Choose dry, plump and firm blueberries – stains on the container might indicate bruised fruit. Skip any reddish berries as they aren’t fully ripe.
Store Them Correctly
Don’t wash your blueberries until you’re ready to eat them or use them in a recipe – this helps them avoid getting mushy. Pop them in the fridge as soon as you get home, either in a covered container or the container they came in. They should stay fresh in the fridge up to 10 days. Blueberries also freeze beautifully.
Berry Good for You
One of the most nutrient-packed fruits, blueberries are considered a superfood. They’re very low in calories, high in fiber and rich in vitamins C and K and the mineral manganese. But that’s not all. Blueberries deliver one of the highest levels of antioxidants of all fruits. And studies have shown that blueberries have the potential to lower the risk of many serious health conditions including cancer, diabetes and heart disease. They may also help lower cholesterol, inflammation and blood pressure, and might even help with brain function.
How to Use the Blues
Talk about versatile…besides being incredibly snackable as-is, blueberries can be part of so many delicious (and nutritious) recipes. You probably immediately think of blueberry pancakes, muffins, pies and cobblers. Blueberries in smoothies, yogurt and cereal are also very popular. But think beyond the expected and use blueberries in salads, glazes and marinades, mixed into burgers and even on sandwiches. Truly, the possibilities are endless.
Berry Beauty Tips
As if the blueberry’s nutritional aspects weren’t enough, we also have good news on the cosmetic front. Put their antioxidant powers to work on your skin by mixing about a half a cup of mashed blueberries with a cup of plain yogurt and applying as a facial mask. Leave it on for about 20 minutes, and then rinse with warm water. Blueberries may also help promote healthy hair growth, reduce signs of aging and prevent premature gray hair. Plus, when you’re healthier on the inside from eating blueberries, you may just get the natural glow that comes from good health.
In the Mood for Blue
Ever wonder why blueberries are blue? The blue color comes from the blueberry’s antioxidant compounds called flavonoids, in particular a flavonoid called anthocyanin (“cyan” is from the Greek word kyanos, meaning “dark blue”). So you can thank anthocyanins not only for blueberries’ incredible health benefits, but for making blueberries beautiful, too.