This post is part of a new series for Bekah’s Bites. We will be sharing nutrition tips about colorful fruits and vegetables. Think about rainbow colors when you choose your produce because those bright shades not only mean better flavor, it means they contain healthy nutrients.
Harvesting and preserving blueberries began in America but soon the world knew of their great qualities. This tiny indigo berry originated in North American where Native Americans referred to it as “star fruit” because of the five points on a blueberry blossom. Even though its roots are in America, the berry struck out for Europe in the 1930s where it made a social call to Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands. From there its reputation for being supremely delicious and healthy spread throughout Europe and into Asia then further to South America and Australia. Blueberries are cousins to the cranberry and distantly related to the azalea bush (but don’t try the azaleas in a smoothie!).
This dark purple fruit can be frozen, dried or preserved easily and still retain many of its healthful benefits. Recognized by its dusky blue pigment, this coloring indicates a high level of antioxidants which blueberries have more of than any other fruit or vegetable. At 80 calories per cup, it’s a good choice to help with the prevention of cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Blueberries are high in Vitamin C and are fiber-rich. Other exceptional health boosts provided by this tiny berry are:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces heart attack risk
- Increases brain function
- Controls blood sugar
- Protects against memory loss
Blueberries have been a staple in North American diets for centuries because of their wonderful taste and only recently due to their exceptional health benefits. You can enjoy them for breakfast (in a smoothie or muffin) or as a dessert (blueberry cobbler or flavorful sorbet) but they also provide a great compliment to leafy greens. Get ready to prepare your Easy Friday Lunch using this delicious power-packed fruit.
You probably have a ton of blueberries since late summer is the height of blueberry season. You will need to freeze the berries as soon as you get them. Either rinse (be sure to pat dry) immediately or simply put them in plastic bags and rinse them just before you use them. These will keep for 6 months so you have plenty of time to enjoy a taste of summer when snow’s on the ground!