Wohoo! It's the time of year again for u-pick blueberries! My family never fails to go at least a few times each summer, and every trip we pick A TON! In fact, we picked four tubs of blueberries this time, which weighed a little over 23lbs, AND we picked with the intention to come back within a week or so?
With so many blueberries, we basically eat a cup or so every morning and sometimes another cup as a snack! We also ended up freezing maybe a third of what we picked? Our family then uses these blueberries in oatmeal or smoothies as the year goes by and blueberry season ends. And the great news about freezing them is that freezing has no significant affect on the levels of antioxidants found in blueberries.
So in addition to their amazing flavor, what's so great about blueberries? Well let's find out~
Nutritional Benefits of Blueberries:
- Great source of vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, and fiber
- Low glycemic index, which means blueberries do not have a large impact on blood sugar levels post consumption. In fact studies have shown that consuming at least 3 servings of low-GI fruits per day (including blueberries) led to an improvement in the study participants' blood sugar over three months
- Has one of the highest levels of antioxidants among all fruits, vegetables, and spice. Antioxidants are important in fighting free radicals from the atmosphere, which can destroy cellular structures such as our DNA!
- Help improve cognitive function (memory, ability to learn new information, etc.)
Tips to prepare and store blueberries:
- Wash only when planning to eat (or freeze). Blueberries have a protective bloom (the grayish waxy deposit) on the surface of its skin that protects the berry from spoiling at room temperature
- When freezing the berries, wash and drain the blueberries. Then set on a clean surface to dry. Remove damaged berries and place in a freezer-safe bag or container to freeze. Can be stored for up to a year! However, texture and flavor does change slightly upon freezing
- Best way to enjoy blueberries is when they are fresh and eaten raw. Cooking/baking the berries causes many of the vitamins and antioxidants to become damaged and thus losing a lot of its nutrients
How do you enjoy your blueberries? Do you go to U-Pick farms as well? For what fruits/vegetables? Please share! I'd love to hear your thoughts :)