Currently we are at the tail end of blueberry season in the Creston Valley. The Blueberry Patch has been doing their part, living up to their name, bringing pints of beautiful handpicked berries to the market each week. Us market goers, now get to do our part and preserve these beauties to be enjoyed for months to come!
If you are talented and ambitious enough to put together a batch of blueberry jelly or sauce I am impressed! If you are like me and want a super easy way to keep blueberries in your diet, this fruit responds really well to freezing and drying! Both frozen or dried blueberries can be used in a variety of recipes, frozen berries are great in baking, smoothies, added to cereal or yogurt, and dried berries are great as a snack or in oatmeal, and salads. The same goes for any other berries you might see at the market or in your backyard (hello blackberry season)!
Tips for Freezing Blueberries:
- lay the berries evenly on a parchment paper lined baking sheet
- make sure the berries are completely dry before freezing them
- freeze on a baking sheet until they are solid (about 4 hours) and transfer to a freezer bag
- This method should ensure the berries do not become a big clump while in the freezer bag
- berries would be best by six months but could probably be used for ten months
Tips for Drying Blueberries:
- if you are fortunate enough to have a dehydrator, that is ideal, however blueberries can be dried in the oven
- wash and rinse berries thoroughly
- spread in an even layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet
- bake the berries at 225F for 3 hours
- store in airtight container
- store dried blueberries in the freezer to extend their shelf life
If the delicious taste and beautiful colour are not enough incentive to snack on these berries, their health benefits should be! Blueberries have an extremely high concentration of Vitamin C, making them a very powerful antioxidant. The antioxidant effect is beneficial throughout the whole body in cell growth and repair. This makes blueberries excellent for skin health and intestinal health. The antioxidant effect of blueberries has also been linked to cognitive function, supporting normal brain development in children, and preventing Alzheimers in older populations.
So, hopefully everyone has been eating their blueberries this summer, and will remember some of these tips to keep enjoying them this fall!
In Good Food,
Reede Hawton – Nutrition Rep