Lani Taormina, Department of Public Health
Lani is a Health Communication Specialist at the Department of Public Health
One of the best fruits of the summertime season is the little but powerful blueberry. Not only are blueberries delicious, but they’re packed with antioxidants, low in calories, high in fiber, and help ward off harmful free radicals, which can protect the body from cancer and aging.
One of the best ways to fulfill your blueberry craving is by going to your local farmers' market or by picking them by hand at a farm; a fun summer activity and delicious snack all in one trip.
- Go sometime between June-August, so now is the perfect time!
- Avoid any shriveled, soft berries.
- Pick berries with a deep gray to dark blue color. Any berries with hints of red in them are not ripe yet, and won’t become ripper after being picked from the bush.
- Once picked, don’t place blueberries in a closed container right away. Because the berries are still warm from the sun, they need to cool down before being stored.
- Once you get home, place the blueberries in the refrigerator. Once chilled, blueberries can last ten to fourteen days.
- Be careful not to put too many blueberries in the same container or basket when picking them! You wouldn’t want to crush any of those delicious berries.
Check out blueberry farms near you at http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/pyo.htm.
So, once they’re sitting in your fridge, what can you do with them? Besides popping them in your mouth like they’re…well, blueberries, here are some perfect summertime recipes with blueberry as the star ingredient:
- Healthy Blueberry Tarts – A healthy blueberry pie makeover.
- Chicken and Blueberry Pasta Salad – A unique and satisfying summer dish that you can bet no one else will bring to the cookout!
- “Royal Blueberry” Gazpacho with Lemon and Mint – A fun twist on your standard chilled soup!
- Blueberry Salsa – Get the summer fiesta started with this sweet and spicy party topping.
- Blueberry Ice Cubes – Add a pop of color, zest, and nutrition to those ice cubes in your favorite summer drink.