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Blueberries

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blue21FACTS

• Early American colonists made grey paint by boiling blueberries in milk.

• If all the blueberries grown in North America in one year were spread out in a single layer, they would cover a four-lane highway that stretched from New York to Chicago.

• The blueberry is the second most popular berry in the U.S., the strawberry is number one. Over 200 million pounds of blueberries are grown commercially each year.

• North America produced nearly 90% of world blueberry production in 2005.

• Blueberries are rich in Vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene as well as rich in the minerals potassium, manganese, magnesium.

• They are very high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.

• 1 c. of blueberries is 84 calories.

• Blueberries contain no cholesterol or fat and are also low in calories.

• Blueberries are high in dietary fiber, Vitamin A and niacin.

• They contain iron and other trace minerals and are a fair source of Vitamin C.

• Blueberries are ranked No. 1 in antioxidant activity compared with 40 other commercially available fruits and vegetables. That means a serving of blueberries has more of the antioxidant power you need to fight aging, cancer and heart disease.

COOKING & HANDLING TIPS

• Like a healthy human being, a vibrant blueberry should have a little bounce to it.

• Once picked, don’t place the berries, still warm from the sun, in a closed bag or container. Leave the container open so moisture doesn’t form in the container.

• Don’t wash berries until just before using to prevent berries from becoming mushy.

STORAGE TIPS

• Sort your blueberries dry and unwashed. Chill berries soon after picking to increase shelf life. Store in the back of the refrigerator in a resealable plastic bag and your fresh-picked blueberries will keep 10 to 14 days.

• Freeze berries without washing to keep the skins from toughening. Place berries one layer deep on a cookie sheet. Freeze, then pour the frozen berries into freezer containers. Because unwashed blueberries freeze individually, they can be easily poured from containers in desired amounts. Remember both frozen and fresh berries should be rinsed and drained just before serving. Just before using, wash the berries in cold water.