With July right on top of us, I thought I would get the jump on this great holiday. July was declared National Blueberry month in 2003 by the Department of Agriculture (DOA).
Why are blueberries so important? Let’s take a look at the some of the reasons mentioned Proclamation by the DOA:
Blueberries are a native North American fruit in 35 States.
Pioneering work by Elizabeth White and Dr. Frederick Corville, who domesticated the wild highbush blueberry in the early 1900’s resulted in the development of a hybrid for cultivated highbush blueberries.
It is now an important industry with a harvested area of approximatgely46,000 acre.
Consumers now want more blueberries than ever. Originally, only fresh blueberries were available, but now they are available fresh, frozen, canned or dried. Due to blueberries nutritional benefits (low in calories and fat, high in fiber and packed with antioxidants) they achieved the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation to choose a diet with plenty of fruit.
Highbush blueberries are harvested in mid-April through early October with the harvest reaching its peak in July.
The Proclamation encourages citizens to recognize and celebrate the highbush blueberry with appropriate ceremonies and gatherings.
Currently, “at least 14 states produce blueberries. In 2016, the United States produced and utilized 588.8 million pounds of cultivated blueberries (highbush and rabbit eye varieties). Of that amount, 314.6 million pounds were sold as fresh blueberries, and 274.2 million pounds were sold processed.”
And though in Central Florida the Blueberry Festivals are in Mar or April, I decided to take advantage of the actual time the Blueberry day was declared. . . the Month of July . . . to write about this fantastic fruit.
BENFITS OF BLUEBERRIES:
Often labeled a superfood, blueberries are packed with nutrition (as is outlined in the Proclamation). Blueberries are flowering shrubs and produce a bluish, purplish berry that is low in calories and high in nutrients which include:
Fiber: 4 grams
Vitamin C: 24% of the RDI
Vitamin K: 36% of the RDI
Manganese: 25% of the RDI
Small amounts of various other nutrients.
They have about 85% water
An entire cup contains only 84 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrates.
Some interesting studies have been done regarding benefits of blueberry consumption. It is recognized that “DNA damage is part of the reason we grow older. It also plays an important role in the development of diseases like cancer. Because blueberries are high in antioxidants [Flavonoids], they can neutralize some of the free radicals that damage your DNA.
In one study, 168 people drank 34 ounces (1 liter) of a mixed blueberry and apple juice daily. After four weeks, oxidative DNA damage due to free radicals was reduced by 20%.”
However, after all the talk about nutrition, etc, I still must say:
“Who doesn’t love Perkin’s Blueberry Muffins?”
HOW DO YOU USE BLUEBERRIES?
Bon Appetit published the following article on June 23, 2019:
22 Blueberry Recipes We are Completely Obsessed with that includes everything from cobblers, to pancakes to pies. Check out their website with this link: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/blueberry-recipes
One of my favorite ways to eat blueberries is raw and in my yogurt. When I eat that combination, I always feel as though I am doing my body a favor. Yum!
Fats Domino was not too far off when he sang the notorious version of the following song:
I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill
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