Keeping Your Blueberries Fresh
Blueberries store well in your refrigerator and will last for up to 2 weeks to be eaten fresh and used for baking. If you plan on freezing any of the berries, you should do that right away to preserve their fresh taste. If you haven't eaten all the fresh ones in the fridge (highly unlikely) after a couple weeks, just put them in the freezer to be used later. If you practice these three things, your berries will stay fresher and taste better for a longer period of time:
- Don’t wash your blueberries when you get home. The white, waxy coating on the outside of the berry is Mother Nature's protection for keeping the berry fresh!
- When you are ready to use the berries, just rinse them under cold water. You can feel safe knowing that we do not spray any pesticides or herbicides on our berries so that you can eat them right off the bush.
- Third, keep the berries cool on the way home. The trick to fresh berries is getting heat out of the berries as soon as possible. You might want to bring an ice chest to place the berries in for the drive home, especially if you have a long drive ahead of you.
What to Cook with Blueberries
Our customers use berries in a variety of ways, often eating them fresh on desserts, yogurt, cereal and oatmeal. They are also delicious added into muffins, pies, and other treats.
In the south, blueberries are ready for harvest early in the spring, but in cool Canada they can grow up until as late as August! Blueberries are native to North America through their relative, the wild Huckleberry. There are many domesticated varieties of berries. As you travel farther north, you will find the low-bush berry plants that only stand a few feet from the ground. Here are two common types of blueberries:
The Highbush Blueberry
When you get to lower latitudes in the United States, the Highbush Blueberry dominates the plantings on berry farms. This plant grows upright and achieves a height of about seven feet. Highbush plants are planted four feet apart to make space for each plant to grow its bushy branches. The Highbush Blueberry plant can produce fruit in early spring and depending on the variety, their season can last all throughout the summer.
The Rabbiteye Blueberry
South of Highbush Blueberry territory is Rabbiteye Blueberry territory. These plants grow much taller than the Highbush variety and droop their berry-topped canes toward the ground.
What Animals Eat Blueberries?
Blueberries are responsible for feeding a good deal of wild creatures. Here at Brandywine Farm, many animals visit our fields to try our sweet blueberries for themselves. Birds, rabbits, and squirrels love to pick up dropped berries and Hummingbirds routinely build their tiny nests in our bushes where they spend the spring buzzing from flower to flower. In Canada, bears love to snack on blueberries when they are preparing to start their winter hibernation.
Good & Good for You: Blueberry Nutrition
Blueberries are very low in calories; 100 g (or about 2/3 of a cup) of fresh berries is only 57 calories!
Blueberries pose notable nutritional benefits such as soluble dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and pigment antioxidants that contribute immensely towards optimal health and wellness. Fresh berries contain a small amount of vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin E. Altogether these vitamins work as potent antioxidants, which help limit free radical mediated injury to the body.
Blueberries are among the highest antioxidant value fruits. The ORAC value of 100 g fresh blueberry is 5562 TE (Trolex equivalents). Their antioxidant value largely derived from poly-phenolic anthocyanidin compounds such as chlorogenic acid, tannins, myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol.In addition, these berries have other flavonoid anti-oxidants such as carotene-?, lutein and zea-xanthin.
Altogether, the phyto-chemical compounds in the blueberry help rid off harmful oxygen-derived free radicals from the body, and thereby, protect the human body against cancers, aging, degenerative diseases, and infections. Further, research studies suggest that chlorogenic acid in these berries help lower blood sugar levels and control blood-glucose levels in type-II diabetes mellitus condition.
The berries also contain a small amount of B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, folates and pantothenic acid. It contains very good amounts of vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and folic acid. These vitamins are acting as co-factors help the body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Furthermore, they contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, iron and zinc. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required for the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation.