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Blueberries

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Preview of Blueberry

Available

July 30 - September 15

Harvest Period

July 30 - August 31

The blueberry is one of the few fruits native to North America, and this continent still provides nearly ninety percent of the crop worldwide. Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia are major Canadian producers. In addition to the many delicious dishes made with blueberries, the fruit, leaves, and stems have been used for medicinal purposes, and the deep blue pigment made into fabric dye.

 

What to Look For

 

Look for fairly firm, blue (not green) berries with no signs of mould or wrinkled skin.  Flip over the package to make sure there are no crushed berries in the bottom.

Cleaning and Preparation

 

Store unwashed blueberries in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Pick off any stems, rinse under cool water and gently pat dry.  Blueberries taste best at room temperature.

 

Storage

 

Blueberries can be stored in the refrigerator for ten to fourteen days.

 

Stock up when the berries are plentiful during summer months and freeze them for use throughout the year. Don’t wash the berries before freezing. Spread them on a cookie sheet, freeze, and transfer them to a plastic bag. This prevents the berries from sticking together. Frozen berries are good for up to a year. Rinse and drain just before using.

 

Nutritional Information

 

Nutritionists think of blueberries as a superfood. They are high in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins B6, K, and C. Blueberries are low in calories and make a satisfying snack. Blueberries are one of the few truly blue foods. The colour comes from anthocyanin, a water-soluable pigment, which is also a powerful antioxidant.

 

1 cup of raw blueberries provides 84 calories, 0g fat, 21g carbohydrate, 4g dietary fiber, and 1g protein.

 

How To Use

 

The best way to enjoy abundant blueberries is fresh, right off the bush.  However, their flavour is somewhat intensified when added any sweet, baked goods, including muffins, cakes, pies, and crisps.  Blueberry jam chutney, and frozen yogourt are great ways to preserve these berries throughout the year. If a food dehydrator is close at hand, blueberries are an easy fruit to dry and eat like raisins.

 

Varieties

 

Two basic types of blueberries are found in Ontario: the small, abundant lowbush which grow wild; and the cultivated highbush that produces the larger blueberries most often seen in stores. Highbush blueberry bushes grow up 6-8 feet in height , while the lowbush barely reach one foot.