FOR YOUR TABLE
BY VICKI SHANTA RETELNY
BLUEBERRIES ARE a hot commodity.
These sweet, succulent little berries have
super food status for healthy compounds
called anthocyanins, which are found in
their indigo-colored skin. Anthocyanins
are desirable for their potential ability to
protect cells and may help fend o; a wide
array of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Blueberries are
also packed with vitamin C, vitamin K and
dietary ;ber, with about ;; calories per cup.
The peak of the U.S. blueberry season is
May through July; the organic crop begins
in late April or early May and runs through
September. Because the demand for blue-
berries is copious and continuous, the global
availability of fresh blueberries from coun-
tries such as Chile—both cultivated and
organic—helps feed the market.
There are always frozen blueberries,
too. Freezing them at the peak of nutritional
value locks in their beneficial nutrients.
They are also an economical option, as they
last for at least six months in the freezer.
Frozen blueberries can be added to smoothies, yogurt, cooked oatmeal, chili, dips, marinades and dressings.
As far as choosing the best fresh berries,
look for fully ripe blueberries with a dark
blue color and good bloom—the light gray
dusting that is the fruit’s natural protection.
Be aware that when the berries are slightly
red this can be a sign that the fruit was
picked slightly early and could be a little tart.
Once you get blueberries home, they are
best eaten within two or three days, as they
ripen quickly; store them in the refrigerator
on the middle or bottom shelf, as the
top shelf might be too cold for deli-
cate blueberries. Rinse and drain the
blueberries in a colander right before
eating; completely dry the remaining
berries before refrigeration, as moisture
will cause them to grow mold. Be sure
to store them in a well-ventilated
container—one with small holes—as
it will keep the berries fresh longer. C
Vicki Shanta Retelny is a
writer and culinary consultant
in Chicago. She blogs at Simple
© ROBERT LUCIAN CRUSITU / SHUTTERSTOCK
Blueberries are a healthful ingredient in any meal