The Fresh Sheet…Blueberries

Now that the sun is here to stay, nothing says summer like freshly picked blueberries. We travelled to Delta to u-pick these deliciously sweet morsels. The gal told us the best spot to pick blueberries was behind the outhouse – not too sure if that’s because of the natural fertilizer or where the freshest blueberries were that day. Either way, they sure were delicious. One for the bucket, one for me, one for the bucket, one for me…

It’s not surprising that blueberries are voted the favourite berry – nothing beats their sweet and juicy velvety flavour. Freshly picked blueberries are so yummy, they taste better than candy! They could be considered Mother Nature’s Candies, or better yet Mother Nature’s health pills. Blueberries pack a serious amount of nutrition. That gorgeous blue colour comes from a powerful antioxidant called anthocyanin. Blueberries also supply ellagic acid, a plant chemical with anti-cancer properties. In addition, blueberries contain fibre, folic acid and plenty of vitamin C and potassium for a mere 80 calories per cup.

When selecting blueberries, choose richly colored firm ones. No need to be concerned about the waxy, whitish coloring on blueberries. This is known as bloom and occurs naturally to protect blueberries from spoilage. Store blueberries in the refrigerator and wash them just before enjoying.

While in season, freeze fresh blueberries for a little bit of summer flavour throughout the year. We definitely have to buy extra specifically for freezing and get them in the freezer fast before anyone notices them, otherwise, they disappear! Freezing blueberries when they’re in season seals in their flavour and nutrition goodness so you can reap the health benefits all year long. To freeze them, simply wash berries and let them dry. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze. Once frozen solid, transfer to freezer containers or bags and label them with a date and use within the year. Freezing them first on a baking sheet helps to keep them from sticking together. Frozen blueberries are perfect for adding to smoothies, pancakes and muffins.

Chilly Treats: Frozen blueberries make a super chilly and healthy snack. I swear I got through university by eating frozen blueberries while studying – those brain-boosting anthocyanin pigments sure helped retain all that knowledge.  

Our favourite way to enjoy blueberries (besides eating them by the hand-full) is for breakfast with this cool summer version of oatmeal. 

Fresh Blueberries in Muesli
1/2 cup rolled oats (we like thick rolled oats)
About ¾ to 1 cup milk or soymilk
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/2 cup yogurt (we like strained yogurt for extra protein) – lemon flavoured yogurt is especially delicious with blueberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
1-2 tbsp nuts or seeds (we like pumpkin seeds and almonds)

The night before, place rolled oats in a bowl and cover with milk or soymilk. Let soak overnight in the fridge. In the morning, stir in ground flaxseed, yogurt, nuts or seeds and pile in the fresh blueberries so each spoonful is full of them.

Makes 1 serving.

This is a great start to a summer morning. It makes a well balanced and energizing breakfast with little work. Enjoy!

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