Blueberries: a Superfood Worth Celebrating!
Blueberries are synonymous with summer and rightly so! These juicy morsels, packed with antioxidants, are a staple in fruit salads, smoothies, and breakfasts. For decades, the North American Blueberry Council (NABC) pushed for a nationwide blueberry month, and in July 2003, the U.S. Department of Agriculture officially declared July as National Blueberry Month.
To celebrate National Blueberry Month, here are some “juicy” facts about blueberries!
- Elizabeth Coleman White and USDA botanist Frederick Coville were the first people to cultivate blueberries in the early 1900s.
- Blueberries contain four essential nutrients: fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese.
- Blueberries are believed to have the highest antioxidant count of any fruit or vegetable. Because blueberries are high in antioxidants, they protect the body against free radicals that contribute to aging.
- One cup of blueberries contains 80 calories, 6 grams of fiber and 25% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.
- Blueberries are grown in 35 of the 50 states.
- Blueberry festivals are celebrated across the U.S. Some of the most well-known festivals include the New Jersey Blueberry Festival and the Vermont Blueberry Festival.
- Blueberries are the state fruit of New Jersey.
- The North American blueberry season and harvest runs from April to late September. Blueberry season in South America runs from November to March.
- You can freeze and store fresh blueberries for up to 10 months in your freezer.
Considered a superfood, blueberries have long been part of a healthy diet due to anthocyanin, an antioxidant pigment that gives the fruit its deep blue color. In a recent study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating a cup of blueberries a day reduced the risk of any cardiovascular event by 13% and the risk of coronary heart disease by 11.4 to 14.5%.
When it comes to brain health, there’s no fruit quite like the blueberry. According to several studies, the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in blueberries protect the brain from oxidative stress and improve cognitive function and memory. Blueberries have also been shown to support eye health.
With all this knowledge about the nutrition-packed berry, you may be thinking how you can incorporate more blueberries into your diet. Luckily, this sweet and tart fruit can work in savory and sweet foods. Blueberries make a great topping for cereal and salad, but they also add a ton of nutrition to pancakes, muffins and smoothies. Try some of our favorite blueberry packed recipes!
Makes 12 muffins
- ½ cup softened butter
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ cup milk
- 2 cups blueberries, washed, drained and picked over
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Cream the butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar until light.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla.
- Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder, and add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk.
- Crush 1/2 cup blueberries with a fork, and mix into the batter. Fold in the remaining whole berries.
- Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners, and fill with batter. Sprinkle the 3 teaspoons sugar over the tops of the muffins, and bake at 375 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.
- Remove muffins from tin and cool at least 30 minutes. Store, uncovered, or the muffins will be too moist the second day, if they last that long.
Makes one serving
- 1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1-2 cups of unsweetened milk of your choice
- ½ banana
- 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
- 2 cups of spinach
- 1 teaspoon of chia seeds
- Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
How do you plan on celebrating National Blueberry Month? Let us know!