There’s evidence that anthocyanins may protect brain cells from the wear and tear of a long, active life. “By protecting against age-related changes in the brain,” researcher James Joseph says, “antioxidants in blueberries could help preserve memory as we get older.”
Blueberries are delicious raw. Without added sugar, one-half cup of blueberries contains only 45 calories. They provide fiber, Vitamins A and C, potassium and iron. They’re low in fat, sodium free and a good source of both fiber and vitamin C. A one-cup serving of fresh blueberries will give you 5 grams of fiber – more than most fruits and vegetables – and 15% of your daily vitamin C at a cost of only 80 calories.
High quality blueberries should be plump and fresh looking. Berries of low quality are soft and watery or have a shriveled appearance. Color; which may be blue, black, bluish-black or purple is the key to ripeness. Look for berries that have a uniform color. Blueberries usually have a grayish waxy deposit on the skin, which is called bloom. The amount of bloom present depends on the variety of the berry.
The bloom on the berry is a protective coating; therefore, blueberries should not be washed until just before they are going to be used. Blueberries will spoil quickly if left at room temperature. They can, however, be stored for several days in the refrigerator. Canning or freezing blueberries will extend shelf life and provide your family with blueberries throughout the year.
- Pack blueberries in moisture-proof wrap and place in the refrigerator immediately to maintain peak quality.
- Wash blueberries just before using-not before storage in the refrigerator
- Blueberries can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days for best quality. For longer storage, preserve by freezing or canning.
- Sort berries, discarding those that are shriveled, soft, watery or immature.
- Wash and dry berries thoroughly and prepare for freezing by placing on a lipped tray in a single layer. Freeze over-night and then store in a freezer at 0°F, using moisture/vapor proof wrapping or containers, for up to one year.
- Frozen blueberries may be substituted for fresh berries in most recipes. However, their texture changes during freezing and storage, so frozen berries are not suitable for serving as you would fresh berries.
- Sort berries; discarding those that are shriveled, soft, watery, or immature.
- Blueberries are usually canned in the form of jam, jelly, syrup or juice.
- Blueberries may be canned in medium syrup or juice for use in pies. There is no safe recipe for canning a blueberry pie filling. However, thickening can be added to berries canned in syrup or juice just before filling the pie shell.
- Use canned blueberries within one year for best quality.
- Canned blueberries may be substituted for fresh in recipes for most baked products; however they should be drained before using. Any sugar added before processing should be accounted for in the recipe so that the product is not too sweet.