July is National Blueberry Month. Did you know that early American colonists made grey paint by boiling blueberries in milk? Native Americans also made tea from blueberry roots, and used blueberry syrup for coughs. They called blueberries “star berries” because the blossom end of each berry – the calyx – forms a perfect five-pointed star.
Blueberries are GREAT for your health no matter what time of year because you can get them fresh (in the summer) or frozen. In fact, consider buying them right now and freezing your own for this winter. Pick Your Own.org provides a great way to freeze blueberries. When I use them out of the freezer in the winter, I put them in a variety of recipes from blueberry pancakes or waffles, blueberry bread, blueberry smoothies, I make blueberry syrup with them to put over the top of those pancakes and waffles!
My son and granddaughter like to make blueberry pancakes in a different method than by mixing blueberries into the batter. They pour a thin layer of pancake batter into a HOT frying pan, then place the blueberries on top of the layer of batter, and last pour another thin layer of batter. The result is that the blueberries actually POP in your mouth! NOTE: the photo to the left is from a blog: Made For Jen. I did not have a photo from the last time we made blueberry pancakes; however, they look exactly like the photo.
I love making blueberry cobbler for breakfast. There are zillions of recipes to make cobblers and crunches. A trick that I use to keep blueberries (and other fruits) from sinking to the bottom so that you do not end up with all of the blueberries at the bottom and a layer of berry-less cobbler on top is how to keep blueberries from sinking in your batter is to dust the blueberries with flour from your recipe’s dry ingredients before adding them to your batter. Simply shake them in a bag or bowl with some of the flour until they are all coated with flour. Then add them to your recipe as you normally would. The flour adheres to the berries and then mixes with the flour rather than sinking to the bottom.
Buying, Storing, and Using Info; Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Blueberries; and my own tip: as soon as I either pick my own blueberries (or raspberries or blackberries or strawberries), I immediately rinse them in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water so that they do not go moldy before I can get them into my refrigerator. If I pick my own, I rinse them in the parking lot of the U-Pick farm. If I get them at farmers’ markets or the supermarket (when they run dynamic sales) or Aldi, as soon as I get home, I rinse them in that solution. That keeps the berries from forming mold and the berries stay fresh for almost a week. I just rinse them with water as I use them to rinse off the vinegar solution.
Blueberries are among the Top Superfoods Offering Super Health Protection from WebMD
- Blueberries: Blueberry Nutritional Facts. Because blueberries are high in fiber, they help to keep you feeling full longer.
- Tea (green or black)
- You can turn this into a quality family event by picking your own blueberries and there are U-Pick blueberry farms available in many states. Use this list of U-Pick blueberry farms from the North American Blueberry Council to find a blueberry farm near you.
- Watch this video from Fruits & Veggies, More Matters about Selecting and Storing Blueberries.
- This video from the Blueberry Council shows how blueberries are harvested.
Some suggestions below to enjoy blueberries are taken from 10 Ways to Enjoy Blueberries from Fruits & Veggies, More Matters
- In a salad
- Pancakes and waffles
- Blueberry juice
- Oatmeal topping
- Parfaits See this Blueberry-Pineapple Parfait recipe
- By the handful
Some different ways to use blueberries below are from 12 Great Ways to Use Blueberries from Oldways
- In your morning Greek yogurt
- In fruit salad
- A delicious cold soup
- Make a topping for waffles or pound cake
- Make a sauce to serve with apples and berries
- Top honeydew melon
- Dress up a seafood or poultry platter
- Garnish fruit punch and other party snacks
Freezing Blueberries (and other fruits)
While blueberries are plentiful in the summer, which means they are sold at great prices, buy some extra blueberries and freeze them for winter months. I used to hate freezing them because they always came out mushy. To avoid that, spread the fruits out on a cookie sheet in one layer and put in the freezer for several hours.
When they are completely frozen, remove them from the cookie sheet and measure them in serving sizes into re-sealable freezer bags. If your freezer bags are thin, consider double bagging them. Remember to mark the gabs with the name of the fruit and the date you froze them.
Yield: 1 Serving
An update on a morning tradition, here is a quick and easy hot breakfast. The aroma of blueberries and cinnamon rising from the bowl makes this a special treat. Oatmeal is a great source of cholesterol lowering fiber and cinnamon reduces insulin levels.
1/2 Cup rolled oats
1/2 Cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 Tablespoon freshly ground flaxseeds
1/2 Tablespoon ground walnuts
Dash of cinnamon
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan, then stir in the oats. Cook for 4 minutes, then add the blueberries and cook until piping hot. Mix in the flaxseeds, walnuts, and cinnamon.
There are a number of ways to Sneak Superfoods into Your Diet as detailed in this article from WebMD. And, when you have finished this article, try this quiz from WebMD about superfoods see how well you do.
Please leave a comment about how you use blueberries. I am always looking for new ways to incorporate healthy foods into my menu and would love to share your tips with other people and future articles.