Blueberries prove that good things come in small packages. Not only are they bursting with delicious flavor, but blueberries are one of the richest sources of antioxidants, thanks to their anthocyanins — the compounds responsible for their blue hue, according to the US Department of Agriculture. They are also an excellent source of ellagic acid and soluble fiber. Studies have found that blueberries may help reduce high blood pressure and total LDL cholesterol. You can start enjoying blueberries on Phase 2. Here’s more information about blueberries, plus delicious ways to enjoy them.
Buying and Storing Blueberries
Most fresh supermarket blueberries are the cultivated kind, not the wild picked. You’re more likely to find the wild variety canned or frozen. Blueberries are typically available all summer long, and into September, though you may be able to purchase imported blueberries throughout the year. When buying fresh blueberries, look for those that are deep blue with a chalky white “bloom” that is a sign of freshness. Preferably buy those that have been refrigerated or kept out of the sun, since heat can destroy their antioxidant power. The blueberries should move freely in their container and not be stuck together. Avoid mushy berries or those in stained containers.
Blueberries will last in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days. Make sure to remove any crushed or moldy berries as well as stems or unripened fruit before storing, and don’t wash your berries until you are ready to eat them. You can also keep blueberries frozen for up to a year.
Delicious Ways to Enjoy Blueberries
When on Phase 2, enjoy blueberries on their own or as a topping for fat-free or low-fat yogurt or high-fiber whole-grain cereals. Here are some other fun and healthy ways to enjoy blueberries:
Blueberry pizza. Simply brush a whole-wheat tortilla with a little extra-virgin olive oil and top with fresh blueberries, thinly sliced scallions, and reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles. Bake at 450ºF for 10 minutes.
Sweet blueberry sauce. Prepare blueberry syrup using frozen unsweetened blueberries. Bring 2 cups of blueberries to a simmer over medium heat and cook until berries burst and the sauce thickens, about 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 2 teaspoons of fresh lime juice and 2 teaspoons of sugar substitute. Add a little ground cinnamon to taste, if desired. Serve over breakfast pancakes or fat-free Greek yogurt.
- Blueberry lemonade. Purée 3 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries with 2 cups of fresh lemon juice in a blender. Add sugar substitute to taste. Pour some lemonade into a glass with ice and add seltzer, if desired. Stir and garnish with lemon slices.