The Almighty Blueberry
These berries may be small, but they’re loaded with nutrients.
Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, which protect against cell damage and may reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. They’re also rich in soluble fiber—a type of fiber that absorbs water—helping to reduce cholesterol levels and keeping blood sugar stable, making them an excellent choice for people with diabetes. These berries also help you feel full longer, promoting a healthy weight. Blueberries are a great source of vitamin C, which helps to ward off and fight infection; manganese, a mineral that may help control blood sugar and maintain bone; and potassium, a mineral that may reduce blood pressure and the risk of stroke. Studies have even linked blueberries with better memory. A one-cup serving packs just 80 calories and 0.2 grams of fat.
Choose berries that are firm, plump and dark blue or purple with a “bloom,” a dusty or silvery coating. (This helps keep insects away and is a sign of freshness.) Reddish berries haven’t ripened and tend to taste sour. Look for berries that are uniform in size and free of stems and leaves. Blueberries can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 14 days, either in a plastic container or covered bowl. Wait to rinse until just before use; the bloom keeps them fresher longer.
Delicious on their own, blueberries can be added to sweet or savory dishes and pair especially well with lemon, banana, almond, mint and coconut. Add some to your breakfast smoothie or oatmeal; pack them with yogurt and granola for a snack; toss with cucumber and feta or spinach and pecans for a refreshing lunch; or make a blueberry relish or barbecue sauce to pour over pork for dinner. Blueberries are a tasty addition to salads, sandwiches and flatbreads, as well as sweet treats like muffins, crumbles and pies.
Did You Know?
You can purchase fresh blueberries year-round. North American blueberries are harvested between April and October, while South American berries are available from November through March. Blueberries are also available frozen. As long as you choose unsweetened berries, they can be just as nutritious as fresh ones.
Blueberries By the Numbers
- 1916: The first cultivated crop of blueberries was sold in the U.S.
- 4: Minutes it takes blueberries to freeze
- 1.5 billion: Pounds of North American blueberries produced annually
- 24: Percent Daily Value (DV) of vitamin C in one cup