There's nothing better than blueberries, and while you can enjoy them by themselves, I prefer these easy blueberry recipes for snacks and desserts. No matter which type you have on hand–fresh, frozen or canned–you can find recipes that use blueberries.
Summer is definitely the best season for fresh fruit. Not only can you munch on fresh peaches, cherries, and blueberries, but you can also use fresh-picked strawberries.
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Why eat blueberries?
Blueberries are not only tasty and delicious, but are also loaded with health benefits. They are high in nutrients while being low in calories, and they have the highest antioxidant activity of all fruits and vegetables.
What does this mean? Antioxidants are necessary to protect our cells from damage due to free radicals. Eating foods rich in antioxidants can help slow down the aging process, reduce risk of cancer and improve cardiovascular health .
In addition, blueberries are high in vitamin C (20% Recommended Daily Intake per serving), potassium (5% RDI) and manganese (10% RDI). One cup also contains 3 grams of fiber. Like you needed another reason to eat them!
When is blueberry season?
Blueberries are available June through September. You may even be able to pick them yourself at a local farm! Another option is to check out your area's farmers market to find the freshest ones available. Then, you have so many choices of easy recipes with blueberries to enjoy!
How long do blueberries last in the refrigerator?
Blueberries will stay fresh for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator. If you don't find that you will use fresh blueberries within the week, consider freezing them to use in smoothies or recipes using frozen blueberries. We like to just eat them plain as snacks, but you can also use them in fruit salad.
How to freeze fresh blueberries
1. Wash fresh blueberries thoroughly under cold water till the water runs clear. Drain on paper towels to remove excess moisture and set aside to dry before freezing.
2. Spread your berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, waxed paper or aluminum foil that is non-coated. Place in freezer for 30 minutes until frozen solid, then transfer them into an airtight container or bag for long lasting storage (up to 6 months).
You can also freeze whole berries by simply placing them in the freezer without doing step 2. However, they will be harder to separate once they are frozen because they will stick together more easily. Another benefit of this method is that you can wash and use some of your blueberries while the rest are still in the freezer and they will taste just as good.
How to save money on blueberries
Blueberries are relatively expensive, but you'll find them priced lower during the late summer season. That's why you see so many magazines and blogs sharing recipes that use blueberries.
You can reduce the cost by using frozen blueberries instead of fresh, which are just as healthy and can be more convenient. Plus, lots of recipes (like my recipes for homemade blueberry muffins) call for them because they hold together better and don't turn the batter dark.
In the baking aisle of your grocery store, you may also find canned blueberries, meant for pie filling. Be sure to check the packaging if you want to avoid added syrups and sugars.