Florida blueberries are in season so you’ll find them in stores and markets through June. Look for the “Fresh from Florida” label. United States Department of Agriculture statistics show that the value of Florida’s blueberry industry is estimated at $82 million, making it the leader in the United States in fresh berries.
When buying blueberries, choose blueberries that are firm and brightly colored. Blueberries should be consumed within a week after purchase. Never allow blueberries to dry out. Use a damp paper towel to help keep moisture in the package, but do not rinse them until it is time to eat them. To freeze blueberries, arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. This way they will freeze evenly and you won’t end up with a brick of frozen berries. After they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag and be sure to label with the date. They can be stored frozen for up to six months.
When using frozen berries, rinse in cold water and use immediately. There’s no need to thaw them if you use them in baked products, except for pancakes. Pancakes may not cook thoroughly in the center if the berries are frozen. Microwave the amount you need for a few seconds to thaw.
Blueberries are nature’s number one source of antioxidants among fresh fruits and vegetables according to the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. Anthocyanins, the pigments giving blueberries their deep blue hue, act as antioxidants, which may provide many health benefits. In addition, blueberries are a low-calorie food – only 40 calories per 1/2 cup. Blueberries are also low in fat, sodium-free and a source of fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C and potassium.
Blueberries also contain compounds that may help to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), according to a report from the Rutgers Blueberry Cranberry Research Center in Chatsworth, N.J. The compounds, called condensed tannins, can keep the bacteria responsible for UTIs from attaching to the linings of the urinary and digestive tracts.
6 cups blueberries
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup regular oats
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; spoon into an 11×7-inch baking dish. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup and level with a knife. Combine 2/3 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon, and cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle over the blueberry mixture. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
Nutritional Value Per Serving
Calories 239, Calories From Fat 63 , Total Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 4g, Trans Fatty Acid 0.19g, Cholesterol 17mg, Total Carbohydrate 44, Protein 3g, Omega 3 Fatty Acid 0.09g Source: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
For more information contact Sharon Treen,County Extension Director at 386.437.7464 or firstname.lastname@example.org