Produce Spotlight on Blueberries
Blueberries have many health benefits. They are a great source of fiber, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. They contain immune-boosting vitamin C in addition to vitamin K and folate, two nutrients important for blood health. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, which come from plants and may lower the risk of chronic diseases.
Shopping for Blueberries
Choose blueberries that are firm, dry, plump, and smooth-skinned. Look for berries that are deep purple-blue to blue-black in color with a light “frost.” Avoid soft, shriveled, or moldy berries. Check the container for stains, which is a sign that some fruit has been crushed. In season, fresh blueberries are abundant at farmstands or at pick-your-own farms. Out of season, frozen blueberries are a cost-saving option.
Highbush – The most common variety of blueberries grown in the United States. They are a large, plump, and sweet fruit.
Lowbush – This variety is typically sold as wild blueberries. They are a smaller berry with intense flavor, and are often grown in Maine.
Storage and Preparation
- Rinse berries under cool running water. Remove any moldy or shriveled berries before eating or storing.
- Refrigerate blueberries in a covered container with holes to allow airflow. Eat refrigerated berries within 10 days.
- For longer storage, place clean, dry berries on a baking sheet and put in the freezer. Once the berries are firm, place them in a freezer bag or container, removing any excess air. Label and date. For best quality, use frozen berries within 10 months.
- Add blueberries to cereals, yogurt, or fruit smoothies.
- Top a savory green salad with fresh blueberries for subtle sweetness.
- Add blueberries to whole-wheat pancakes, waffles, and muffins.
- Create a blueberry grain bowl. Experiment with different grains, vegetables, and toppings.
1 quart of blueberries =
2 pints and 4 cups of blueberries =
Using Locally Grown Produce
For recipes featuring fruits and vegetables, visit our website https://extension.umass.edu/nutrition/recipes/. To locate places to buy local produce, visit https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-grownand-fresher.