The month of July typically kicks off with Independence Day celebrations across the country. But did you know that there’s another reason to celebrate this month? July is also recognized as National Blueberry Month! In May of 1999, the United States Department of Agriculture proclaimed that blueberries were worthy of having their own month-long celebration.
Blueberries are grown in 35 different states in the U.S. and we produce over 90 percent of all the blueberries in the world. The production of these berries in North America typically starts in mid-May (in Florida) and ends in September, when some fruit is held over in controlled-atmosphere storage in Oregon, Washington and Canada.
Tips on keeping them fresh
As soon as you buy blueberries, store them in the refrigerator immediately. Don’t wash the berries until you’re ready to use them. And you should always remove berries from the refrigerator one to two hours before serving. At room temperature the berries are at their fullest flavor.
Freezing blueberries is an easy way to preserve them. Since blueberries are seasonal and taste great in a variety of baked goods, I’d recommend stocking up on them when they are on sale. Carefully wash berries in cold water, pat dry and place them on a cookie tray in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen, transfer them to an airtight container and put them in the freezer.
Health benefits of blueberries
Among the fruits that are high in antioxidants, blueberries rank in the top. Some health officials credit the fruit with helping to combat aging, cancer and lower heart disease. Blueberries are also packed with vitamins A and C, potassium and folic acid. Fresh berries are also a good source of dietary fiber. In the past, the juices of the blueberries were used to help treat coughs.
Blueberries are usually served as a prime ingredient in many desserts and fruit dishes. But due to their recent popularity, they are showing up in more savory dishes and even in sushi rolls.
Here are some restaurants on GrubHub.com that serve up some sweet blueberry dishes:
Olympic Diner, 807 8th Ave, New York, NY
The diner incorporates blueberries into their French toast, Belgian waffles and pancakes. They also include three blueberry blintzes served with sour cream and apple sauce.
Sunburst Espresso Bar, 206 3rd Ave., New York, NY
This espresso bar dishes up pancakes, French toast, crepes and smoothies that are made with fresh blueberries. They also serve blueberry yogurt muffins.
Gramercy Bagels, 246 3rd Ave, New York, NY
If you’re on a tight budget, try Gramercy’s blueberry muffins for $1.95 and blueberry bagels for just $0.80!
Tricolore Caffe, 590 Washington St, San Francisco, CA
Tricolore Caffe features Swiss Muesli on their menu. This dish includes fresh fruit, berries, oat flakes, yogurt and milk.
Laz Café, 1744 Washington St., Boston, MA
Laz Café serves up some sweet blueberry pancakes on their menu.