Since blueberries are in peak season in July, it’s the perfect time to stock up on this sweet treat. Whether you pick your own, or purchase them at the market, when they’re in season they cost half the price. Or you can purchase some blueberry plants and grown your own; if you don’t have a garden look for the dwarf variety plant to grown in containers.
Blueberries are one of the many super foods, they are full of antioxidants and are great for our bodies and our immune systems; and help ward off heart disease and cancer. They also contain compounds called, anthocyanocides which have been shown in clinical studies to slow down vision loss. These little berries not only burst with flavour, but they pack a nutritious punch!
Ripe blueberries can be stored in a covered container, refrigerated for about a week, although they are best if eaten within a few days. To freeze, wash and dry berries, removing any sticks and spread out on a baking sheet, then throw in the freezer. They will freeze quickly this way, then you can transfer them to a plastic storage bag and return to the freezer; they should last up to a year in there.
Blueberries are great, when added to smoothies, topped on your cereal or in fruit salads, but they can also be used in baking muffins, pies or cobblers or try this recipe for something different:
Vegetable Couscous with Blueberries
1 cup (250 mL) vegetable stock
3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
1 cup (250 mL) couscous
1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon rind
Pinch ground cumin
2 carrots, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1/4 cup (50 mL) walnut halves, chopped
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) frozen wild blueberries
1/2 cup (125 mL) cooked (canned) chickpeas
Salt and pepper
4 sprigs each fresh coriander and flat leaf parsley, chopped
1. In small saucepan, bring vegetable stock and 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the oil to boil. Add couscous, lemon rind and cumin; stir to combine. Remove from heat and cover; let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and scrape into large bowl.
2. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in skillet over medium heat and cook carrots for 5 minutes or until becoming softened. Add zucchini and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Remove from heat and add walnuts. Add to vegetable couscous. Add wild blueberries and chickpeas to bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add coriander and parsley and stir to combine well.
Tip: Cover and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Serves 4