With no peeling, hulling or pitting, a blueberry is a ready-to-go, tasty fruit.
Availability: Depending on the variety, blueberries are available from November through to April. Peak season is mid-December to February.
Buying: Look for blueberries which are firm and plump. Size variation is okay, but they should all be a dark hue of blue. Reddish blueberries aren't ripe and may be bitter.
Storing: Keep blueberries in the fridge for up to a fortnight or freeze them for future use. Keep them away from direct sunlight and make sure they remain dry – they will rot if damp.
Nutrition: Blueberries are rich in anthocyanins – antioxidants believed to be important in helping to counteract age-related decline in brain function. They are also thought to have anti-cancer benefits and to help lower cholesterol.
Ideas for using blueberries
- Blueberries make great smoothies and yoghurt drinks. Combine a cup of trim/soy milk or drinking yoghurt, a ripe banana and half a cup of blueberries in a blender.
- Blueberries are great in pikelets and pancakes. Gently stir in half a cup of washed, dried and firm blueberries to pancake mixture just before pouring batter in a frying pan.
- Add interest to summer drinks by making blueberry ice cubes. Fit a few blueberries in each square of an ice tray and then fill with water or natural lemon cordial.
- Make a sweet and sharp fruit salad mixing cubed pineapple, fresh blueberries and lychees.
- Make a healthy blueberry coulis. Mash a cup of blueberries and sieve. Add two tablespoons sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. Simmer gently until mixture thickens and then bottle in squeezy bottles. The coulis is great for ice cream and desserts.