July is National Blueberry Month, and for good reason. Blueberries are a super food that offers us many health benefits, plus they make a delicious ingredient in many recipes. Your kids will love spending time outdoors in the field and eating fresh blueberries they’ve just picked. Seeing where berries grow helps connect kids to their food.
We’ve put together a fun blueberry picking guide to help you take your blueberries from the garden to the freezer to your plate.
Find a blueberry patch
Summer is peak season for blueberries. If you live in one of the 38 states that grow blueberries, take your family blueberry picking. Websites like Pick Your Own help you locate a farm in your area. Blueberries are super easy to pick, practically falling into your hands. You can pick up to 2 pounds in under 15 minutes.
On the drive home brainstorm the ways you can use the blueberries for meals. At home, let your kids help prepare a dish made with their treasure.
How to select the best blueberries
If you don’t live near a blueberry patch, don’t worry — local grocery stores carry fresh blueberries year-round. Half the year our blueberries come from the United States and the other half from South America. Here are a few tips for picking out the best basket of berries whether you’re at the blueberry patch or the grocery store:
- Look for berries that are uniform in color and size
- Avoid berries with brown spots
- Tiny berries are more concentrated in flavor
- Wrinkled berries are past their prime
- Look for berries that are dry and move easily around when you jiggle the container
Select only the best when it comes to your summer fruits with our summer fruit picking guide!
How to store blueberries
Berries are known to be fragile and spoil quickly. It doesn’t have to be that way! Extend your blueberries’ shelf life at home by following these simple tips:
- Store berries unwashed
- Berries are best consumed within a few days of picking or purchase, though they will last up to 10 days
- Rinse the berries right before using them
- Each day gently jiggle the container to keep mold from growing
How to freeze blueberries
Are you about to leave town and your refrigerator is full of berries you don’t want to go to waste? Freeze them before they spoil.
- Completely dry your gently-washed berries
- Freeze in a single layer on a tray before placing in freeze bags or containers
- Berries are great frozen in smoothies, sauce, and fruit pops
Discover the best ways to freeze fruit and other foods with our 8 tips for freezing foods with a vacuum sealer!
Blueberry health benefits
Need more reasons to love blueberries? They might be small, but they’re mighty in benefits ranging from boosting our brain power to helping us fight cancer. These are just a few of the benefits they offer:
- Low in fat, high in nutrients
- High in vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and fiber
- Decrease potential for glaucoma
- Reduce heart disease, especially in women
- High in anthocyanins, which give the berries their blue color and also help attack cancer-forming free radicals
- Combat UTIs by inhibiting bacteria from binding to bladder tissue
- Improve brain health
Put those health benefits to work by cooking up one of our delicious blueberry recipes for tonight’s dinner or a weekend treat!