Although there are a variety of types of blueberries, with fluctuating sizes and tastes, blueberries are well known for their sweet taste. What many people don’t know is that blueberries provide abundant health benefits. Blueberries are good for heart health, reduce the risk of certain cancers, improve night vision, promote gastrointestinal health and are full of antioxidants. Readily available in the warmer months of the year, blueberries can be picked from bushes in the wild or purchased from a local famer’s market or grocer. When fresh blueberries are not available, frozen berries can be substituted for recipes and food preparation. After picking or purchasing blueberries, it is important to know how to incorporate them into your meals to receive the many known health benefits.
Storage and Preparation
To store blueberries, carefully sort through and remove any that have been squished or that show signs of mold. It is critical that blueberries not be washed until they are ready to be prepared for consumption. Blueberries can be kept in the refrigerator for a maximum of 10 days. To freeze the blueberries, lay a paper towel on a cookie sheet and gently pour the blueberries on top, covering with another paper towel. Allow the berries to dry completely. Remove the paper towels and place the blueberries back onto the cookie sheet. Put the cookie sheet into the freezer, flat, until they are frozen solid. Once the berries are frozen, pour into a freezer-safe bag and store for up to 2 years.
Once you are ready to prepare blueberries for cooking, simply remove them from the refrigerator or freezer. Rinse in a colander with cold water. Dry thoroughly with paper towels before using.
Simple Additions for Breakfast Treats
To add a sweet, seasonal flavor to popular breakfast foods such as pancakes, waffles or breads, simply add blueberries to the batter before cooking. To make a sweet blueberry topping, mix 1 cup of frozen blueberries with 1/2 cup of sugar in a saucepan. Over medium heat, continuously stir the mixture until desired consistency is reached.
Dress up that Chicken
For many health conscientious individuals, grilled or baked chicken is a staple. Knowing that blueberries have high nutritional value, why not create a sauce for your chicken? In a large saucepan, combine 1/2 cup apricot jam with 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard. Add 1/2 cup white wine vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Mix in 1/2 cup fresh blueberries and simmer until warm.
When asked about cooking with blueberries, most people tend to focus on desserts. Blueberries can be used in pies, cakes, cheesecakes, pastries and a variety of other sweet dishes.For people wanting to lose weight, dessert isn’t always a choice. However, you can create healthy and delicious desserts with blueberries. For example, use blueberries to make a healthy smoothie or yogurt parfait. To make a healthy yogurt parfait, use fat-free vanilla flavored yogurt and gather a generous amount of plump blueberries. In a parfait glass, equally layer the yogurt and blueberries. Top with granola.