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
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,
If 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.
Before 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.
If 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.
Commercially 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.