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We’re Blue Da Ba Dee Da Ba Dii

You guessed it – May’s Produce Pick of the Month is Blueberries! These tiny fruits are packed with nutrients to help nourish and hydrate the body. From cakes to pies to smoothies and salads, they’re very versatile in cooking… making them the perfect summer time addition for all those potlucks and picnic recipes you’re about to be cooking up. Just like any fruit, before you eat or cook them, make sure you wash these berries! 

Have you ever wondered why blueberries come with a silver/white hue to them, but turn blue once washed? It’s actually due to a naturally occurring compound that helps protect the fruit. Since it’s naturally produced by the berry – you want to make sure you only wash blueberries right before you’re going to eat them. 

Here’s a few other fun facts our students learned about this nutritious fruit.

Origins

Blueberries are native to North America and have been on this earth for more than 13,000 years! North American indiginious people were the first to discover the health benefits of blueberries and would use them as a natural flavor and to help prevent illness. They also called blueberries “star fruits” because of the 5 pointed star shape that is formed at the blossom end of the berries. Today, nearly 1 billion pounds of blueberries are cultivated and grown every year in North America alone. 

Nutrition Tip

One cup of blueberries contains four grams of fiber which helps our digestive system stay healthy. They are an excellent source of Vitamin K and a good source of Vitamin C. Blueberries are about 85% water, which can help us stay hydrated – especially during the hot summer months. 

Shopping Tip

Blueberries can be found in grocery stores in various forms such as fresh, dried or frozen. You can freeze fresh blueberries yourself by popping them into the freezer using the plastic clamshell you purchased them in. Wait to rinse them when you take them out of the freezer. Blueberries can be added to smoothies, eaten as a snack or added to pancake batter. Blueberries are also a great addition to salads as they add a bit of sweetness and a nice texture.

Recipe: Blueberry Lemonade

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 7 lemons
  • 20 oz. water

Directions:

  1. In a sauté pan, bring 2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries and 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. 
  2. Strain liquid (syrup) from cooked blueberries into a bowl and set aside. 
  3. Juice 7 lemons and add their juice to a pitcher along with the blueberry syrup and 21⁄2 cups (20 ounces) of water. 
  4. Stir well and serve over ice.

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