Blueberries are good news all the way. These delicious berries contain
more disease-fighting, age-proofing antioxidants than practically any
other fruit or vegetable, even powerhouses such as kale, broccoli, and
oranges. In fact, blueberries were at the top of the list of 40 fruits
and vegetables tested for their antioxidant potential. The group of
substances that put the "blue" in blueberry—anthocyanins—are
probably responsible for much of the fruit's antioxidant power. Blueberries
(like other berries such as blackberries) also contain ellagic acid,
which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. Blueberries also
boast a high fibre content; and much of that fibre is pectin, a soluble
fibre that helps lower cholesterol levels.
Fresh blueberries should be deep blue and covered with a chalky white
"bloom." The bloom is a sign of freshness. The berries should
move freely when you shake the container; if they don't, it's a sign
that they may be soft and stuck together. Inspect the box. If it's a
wooden or cardboard container, and is damp or stained, the fruit inside
may be crushed, mouldy, or decayed.
you buy frozen blueberries, be sure the berries rattle around the bag;
if they are frozen into a solid lump, it's an indication that the berries
have thawed and then been refrozen. Also, be sure to buy unsweetened
berries, not berries in a sweetened syrup.
Blueberries are the least perishable of all berries and will last for
seven to ten days if refrigerated.
refrigerating, empty the container of blueberries into a bowl and remove
any that are crushed or mouldy, then return the berries to the container.
This will prevent the other berries from going bad too quickly. Do not
wash the berries before storing, however.
you've bought more berries than you can use, freeze them. Spread the
unwashed berries on a baking sheet and place it in the freezer until
the berries are frozen solid. Then transfer the berries to a heavy-duty
plastic bag. They'll keep in the freezer for 10 months to a year.
Before eating or cooking, rinse fresh blueberries and pat dry. Except
for removing an occasional leaf, snippet of fine stem, or unripened
berry (the reddish ones can be cooked, but aren't good raw), they are
ready to eat.
frozen berries don't need to be washed before eating, but home-frozen
ones should be quickly rinsed under cold running water. Let frozen berries
thaw at room temperature for a few minutes before adding them to uncooked
dishes. When using frozen berries in cooked dishes, do not thaw, and
lengthen the cooking time a few minutes.