Glossary of Foods: Blueberries

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Blueberries are a small wonder to behold! Packed with antioxidants and low in sugar, blueberries are an all-around "good guy" in the world of fruits. Though they may often take a backseat in popularity to strawberries and raspberries, the mighty blueberry is deserving of a spot on your plate.

blueberries

Native to North America, blueberries grow most commonly in New England and the Pacific Northwest. The blueberry shrub is a flowering plant that can grow up to 13 feet high. Two common cultivars of blueberries include wild, or low-bush, blueberries which are small and vibrant, and high-bush blueberries which are larger and more popular.

Unripe berries start small and green; they grow more plump and turn blue as they ripen. Blueberries are also coated in a natural powdery wax, also called the bloom, that protects the berry as it grows and matures. When ripe, blueberries have a sweet flavor and tend to pop in your mouth. Underripe berries will be firmer and have a sour or tangy flavor.

Blueberries are in season in North America from June to July. To select the best berries at the market, look for a white powdery bloom on the berries. Also look for plump even skin on the berries that is free from wrinkles. The bloom will keep the blueberries fresh until you're ready to eat them, so only wash the berries right before it's time to snack.

>> Read more: 10 Ways to Add More Fruit to Your Summer

Frozen blueberries can be found at the grocery year round, or you can freeze your own blueberries during the summer when fresh ones are easy to find!

Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant capacities of all fruits and veggies. Blueberries have 13,427 antioxidants in one cup of fruit! They are a true antioxidant powerhouse! With only 80 calories per cup, plus a high supply of fiber, vitamin C, and manganese, blueberries score well on the calories to nutrition ratio. Blueberries are also low in sugar — only 15 grams per cup!

Blueberries make a healthy and delicious smoothie or are great as a topping for low-fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese. Give a classic breakfast favorite an upgrade with our Blueberry Protein Muffins. Blueberries also add subtle flavor and sweetness to water or iced tea — check out these 7 flavor upgrades for your water. Or for a sweet and sinful-tasting treat, make these Blueberry Cinnamon Roll Ups!

Delicious Blueberry Cinnamon Roll Ups