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The blueberry is a blue-coloured, small, round berry, which has a sweet albeit acidic taste. It has a silver bloom around, and transforms from green to reddish purple and finally blue as it matures.
This tasty berry ripens through May and June, which is therefore the best season to relish blueberry tarts and pies, and stock up on tasty blueberry jams, dessert toppings and syrups too!
How to Select
Clean and wash the blueberries and place them on a chopping board. Now, chop the berries horizontally and vertically, into fine or larger pieces depending on the recipe requirements.
• While blueberries can be plucked off wild bushes, various varieties of blueberries with distinct flavours are also commercially cultivated.
• When buying fresh blueberries, check for any insect infestation, blemishes or bruises as well as the colour.
• Select berries that are completely blue (fully mature), with no tinge of red (slightly un-ripened).
• Blueberries must be ripe when purchased, as they do not continue to ripen after harvesting.
• Avoid soft, watery or mouldy blueberries It is a good sign if you are able to see a shimmering silver coating as it is nature’s way of protecting the berries.
• Stay away from berries on which you see a mist of water or other liquids sprayed to make them look fresh.
• If buying packed berries, inspect the package. Stained or leaking containers are an indication of fruit past its prime. Culinary Uses
• Blueberries can be made into purees or juices.
• It is most popular as a jam made with blueberries and fruit pectin.
• Apart from this, blueberry is used in pies, cakes, muffins, jams and jellies.
• Blueberry syrup makes a delicious dessert topping! How to Store
• Since it is highly perishable, consume as soon as possible.
• If not, you can refrigerate it in a rigid container. Do not wash it before storing because water on the surface hastens deterioration.
• Under refrigerated conditions, blueberries can last up to two weeks.
• There are also methods to freeze individual blueberries for preservation. Never wash the blueberries before freezing as the water will harden the berry’s skin.
• Frozen blueberries last for close to a year. After thawing, they are only slightly less bright and juicy as compared to the original harvest state.
• It can also be canned or dried.Health Benefits
• Blueberries have great antioxidant value, especially anthocyanins, which help to fight cancer and degeneration of cells.
• The antioxidants also help to fight harmful free radicals and reduce wrinkles on your skin.
• It is also used as a laxative and relieves intestinal troubles.
• The tasty berries are also high in iron.