Ode to a blueberry

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It’s blueberry season here… get ’em while you can!

 

 

My lovely friend the blueberry, how do I love thee?

1. I love thee because you are local and native to our country… the perfect food if you are looking to eat locally and eat healthy.
2. I love thee because you are loaded in fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin E.
3. I love thee because you are loaded in antioxidants, especially the anthocyanins.
4. I love thee because you can be frozen for storage and still retain full antioxidant powers.
5. I love thee because even though you are sweet and luscious naturally, your glycemic index is nice and low.
6. I love thee because you are anti-inflammatory.
7. I love thee because you improve memory.
8. I love thee because you love me back, by taking care of my heart, decreasing blood pressure, and decreasing cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
9. I love thee because you protect my eyes by decreasing oxidative damage to my retina (this is getting much less poetic sounding the longer I write…)
10. I love thee because you taste so damn good.

 

It is natural and eco-friendly to eat foods when they are in season locally.

My family has made a pact to pick fruits and veggies when they are local and in season, and try to eliminate eating berries and other produce that is shipped in from out of the state or even country during out of season periods.   I know you can still buy blueberries from Wholefoods during January, but is that the right choice, knowing those berries were flown in during an off season?  So far, we’ve been good about sticking to this… we pick all the blueberries we can, and if we want blueberries this winter, we pull out the ones we picked locally this summer and use them.

When they are gone, they are gone.

Luckily, blueberries store extremely well and extremely easily, right in your freezer — and you don’t lose any of the antioxidant activity when you thaw them out.

So here is what we did with the three baskets of blueberries we picked this year:

 

1) 6 large quart sized glass jars in our freezer to use in pies and muffins this fall/winter.
2) 9 jars of blueberry jam freshly made using the recipe found in the box of pectin. It’s super simple, the easiest jam I make by FAR. With strawberries you have to hull them, with apples (to make apple pie filling) you have to peel them… with grapes you have to strain the juice. With blueberries — dang just rinse them and throw them in a pot with sugar and pectin! One minute of rapid boiling and you can ladle them into hot clean jars and process the lids. Done, from start to finish, in under a half hour.
3) 1 large blueberry pie as a thank you to my family for picking them (which honestly just means to thank my poor husband, who works for about an hour grabbing huge handfuls of berries while the kids and I head back into the car to wait for him after helping for ten minutes!)
4) 2 loaves of blueberry bread, one to eat and one to freeze… recipe here (just substitute blueberries for strawberries!)

 

It was dark at night by the time I finished processing, canning, freezing, and baking with all those blueberries!

 

Have you all picked your blueberries yet? I’d love to know what you like to do most with your berries, I still have about one bucketful left. I’ve been juicing them along with the carrots in my garden for lunch… it tastes better than it sounds.

For the month of July, I am posting a Thoughts On Health video (the 2nd, 3rd and 4th part of my “have FUN! It’s super healthy for you and here is the scientific proof!!!!” series) aka “Seriousness Is A Disease” every Monday, and taking the rest of the week off to catch up on my ongoing projects, art, writing, and much needed family time!

So check back every week for my Monday post each week all through July, and I’ll be back in full blog swing in August!  xoxo, Laura