The Power of Blue . . . berries!

If you haven’t heard it before, red, blue, and purple fruits are packed with good stuff that help your body flight disease!  These fruits contain anti-oxidant compounds like anthocyanins and polyphenolic flavonoids.  These powerful compounds help to protect the body from stress and diseases while boosting the immune system.

Blueberries are believed to be the KING of the blues as they contain the highest antioxidant capacity of all commonly consumed fruits and vegetables.  They are also among the most nutrient dense berries.  One cup of blueberries has only 84 calories with no fat; of the 15 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams are dietary fiber.  That one cup of berries also provides 24 percent of your daily-recommended (RDA) serving of Vitamin A, 36% of Vitamin K, and 25% of manganese.  Study after study has shown that blueberries are incredibly good for our health.

I was in North Carolina recently to visit family.  While there, we went to one of the regional NC Farmer’s Markets and I was reminded of North Carolina’s prominence in the US blueberry industry; blueberries were freshly picked, plentiful, and delicious!

With blueberries now in season, this is a good time to stock up.  Studies have shown that blueberries’ good qualities survive freezing.  Antioxidants found in fresh foods are typically very delicate, but research finds that 3 to 6 months of freezing has little to no effect on the antioxidant qualities of blueberries.  These findings are great news for anyone who grows, buys, or picks fresh berries in season and wants to enjoy them year round.  This is also great news for anyone who has restricted access to fresh blueberries but can find them in the freezer section at the market.

Blueberries can be enjoyed in numerous ways.  If you need ideas, check out the assortment of recipes at the US Blueberry Council website.  My preschool grandchildren enjoyed making their own snack; we dipped them in yogurt and froze them for an hour on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  The fact that blueberries are sweet, colorful, and can be enjoyed fresh and frozen is a tasty bonus.  So whether you are popping a handful into your mouth for a snack, topping off a favorite dish or a green salad, or trying them in a recipe, blueberries are a simple and healthful ingredient that brightens just about any dish.  I hope you will enjoy getting to know blueberries by exploring all the fun and simple ways to use them.

Marlene Geiger

Marlene Geiger

I am a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a BS in Home Economics Education and Extension and from Colorado State University with a MS in Textiles and Clothing. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, gardening, quilting, cooking, sewing, and sharing knowledge and experience with others.

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