Summer’s in full swing and what better way to celebrate than with one of the healthiest foods around. Blueberry Picking Day is July 10. We’re here to help you understand why this holiday is full of flavor and also healthy for you.
Blueberries, the second most popular berry in the US, are one of the only fruits native to us and one of the richest foods in antioxidants in the American diet. Blueberries not only taste great, they’re great for you, too. Filled with a variety of antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, which gives the berries their blue color, they are also a great source of vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, fiber, and copper. Because blueberries are filled with antioxidants, they help to eradicate the free radicals which damage cell and DNA structure. By eliminating free radicals, the risk of developing cancer lessens, as do the signs of aging. Blueberries also have a low glycemic index and have been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels, especially in adults with type 2 diabetes. Blueberries, unlike most foods, help more than one system of the body. Instead, they impact almost every aspect of how the body functions and improves it. Here are just a few ways blueberries make us healthier:
You get the most nutritional bang and flavor from blueberries if they’re eaten fresh and raw. If they’re organic, even better, as organic blueberries have a significantly higher level of antioxidants than non-organic varieties. Eat raw blueberries by the handful, toss them into a garden salad, your morning cereal, or use them to flavor your favorite yogurt. Blueberries can also be frozen and, if kept below 0 degrees, stored for three to six months without losing too much nutritional value. To help the berries keep their shape and texture, put a single layer on a baking sheet, and place it in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen, pour them into a freezer safe container, and stick them back in the freezer.
While some nutrients are lost when blueberries are cooked, they are still a great additive in cookies, bars, pies, and cakes.
Here’s my favorite recipe for Blueberry Buckle.
Remember, if your blueberries are not organic, they need to be washed. Do this right before you eat them, as the berries have a natural skin protector that helps them stay fresh.
If you would like to participate in Blueberry Picking Day pickyourown.org has a great calendar of events to help you locate a Blueberry Festival or a self-pick farm in your area. Enjoy the berries while they last. Their season is short and you’ll be waiting another year to enjoy this delicious holiday.