Food & Entertaining - In Season

In season: Blueberries

Pick your own blueberries or grab quarts from the local market to enjoy in recipes or as a healthy snack


You may love blueberries for their delicious burst of flavour, but it’s their nutritional value that makes them simply irresistible. Here are some health benefits and recipe ideas to help you make the most of blueberry season.

How to buy
Fresh, in-season blueberries taste great, especially here in Canada where they’re native. Buy locally grown ones, pick them at a farm or grow your own crop.

Once you get your blueberries home, don’t wash them—moisture on the surface encourages rot. Instead, pick out mushy or mouldy ones, then pat dry any moisture. Store them in a clean, dry container. Rinse before eating.

Wild or farmed?
Canada is the world’s largest producer of wild (lowbush) blueberries, which are grown in clean, healthy conditions. As for the farmed ones, Agriculture
Canada recommends organic control methods, such as dormant oil and sulphur sprays, which don’t leave a toxic residue. Be careful of nonorganic blueberries from other countries, which can be heavily sprayed with pesticides.

How to grow
Blueberries have specific needs. Naturally at home in peat bogs, the hardy, shallow-rooted bushes thrive in acidic soil. Unless your garden soil is acidic, plant the bush in a large container with an acidic soil mix. Prune in spring for the best results.

Healthy facts
Vitamin C & vitamin E: These vitamins boost the antioxidant ability of blueberries.

Low in calories: Eat as many as you’d like—blueberries are less than 100 calories per cup.

Antioxidants: Disease-preventing flavonoids are antioxidants that create the deep blue pigment in blueberries and help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. They may also aid memory and other brain functions that can diminish with age.

How to eat them
Whole-grain blueberry muffins: Make your own using whole wheat flour for an extra dose of fibre. Try replacing butter or oil with applesauce.

Compotes and jams: The subtle sweetness of blueberries makes for a delicious compote or jam. Look for recipes with less sugar or a natural substitute, such as agave nectar.

Yogurt and berries: For a healthy breakfast or snack, top plain Greek yogurt with berries, a little bit of honey and hearty granola.


Photo Maxvis/istockphoto

 

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