Blueberry Basics: Picking, Storing, Nutrition and Healthy, Oil-Free Vegan Recipes

Here are Blueberry Basic Essentials: How to pick, store, and cook healthy, oil-free vegan recipes.  When to choose organic.  Plus, nutrition information on this delicious, healthy antioxidant-rich fruit.

Blueberries are a healthy, naturally sweet fruit.  Blueberries grown in the US are traditionally harvested in the spring and summer, but you can enjoy frozen and dried blueberries year round.

Blueberries are a healthy, naturally sweet fruit.  Blueberries grown in the US are traditionally harvested in the spring and summer, but you can enjoy frozen and dried blueberries year round.

To store fresh blueberries, it's best to place them on a plate or colander, lined with a paper towel, uncovered in the fridge.  

To store fresh blueberries, it's best to place them on a plate or colander, lined with a paper towel, uncovered in the fridge.  

Swish fresh berries around in a "Berry Bath" so that you can properly wash them without bruising their delicate skin

Swish fresh berries around in a "Berry Bath" so that you can properly wash them without bruising their delicate skin

Chef's Tip: Use dried blueberries year-round for natural sweetness.  Add them to granola, cookies, and oatmeal for bursts of healthy flavor.

Chef's Tip: Use dried blueberries year-round for natural sweetness.  Add them to granola, cookies, and oatmeal for bursts of healthy flavor.

Chef's Tip: Swap out raisins or chocolate chips for dried blueberries in your favorite granola bar recipes for healthy, naturally sweet flavor

Chef's Tip: Swap out raisins or chocolate chips for dried blueberries in your favorite granola bar recipes for healthy, naturally sweet flavor

Chef's Tip: Use frozen blueberries directly in your baking recipes for healthy, affordable flavor year-round.  There's no need to thaw these berries in your vegan crisps and bread

Chef's Tip: Use frozen blueberries directly in your baking recipes for healthy, affordable flavor year-round.  There's no need to thaw these berries in your vegan crisps and bread

Quick Reference Pin:

Blueberries 101 - Quick Reference Infographic Pin for Season, How to Choose, Store, Eat, and Healthy Nutrition

Blueberry Basics

Season:  

  • Blueberries grown in the US are traditionally harvested in the spring and summer, from April till late September.  After that, you can enjoy them frozen or imported from Chile and Argentina
  • Dried and Frozen:  When it isn't summer, enjoy frozen and dried blueberries.  Frozen blueberries can be used directly in recipes, without thawing.  These are especially great for baking, smoothies, and pancakes.  Dried blueberries can be added to granola, cookies, and oatmeal for bursts of sweetness.

Choosing: 

  • Deep Blue, Plump, Firm:  Blue, plump, firm blueberries means they've been picked recently and stored correctly.  Avoid moldy, pale berries, as this is a sign they're old or getting moldy.  Reddish berries mean they aren't ripe yet.
  • Size Matters:  Smaller blueberries have a higher concentration of sugar, making for a sweeter flavor. 
  • Organics Matter:  Blueberries are highly prized by bugs, birds, and insects so convention berries are heavily sprayed with pesticides.  Since blueberries have a thin, edible skin they soak up these chemicals and it's hard to wash off.   It's a little pricier, but I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you buy organic
  • Get "Wild": For even more sweetness, opt for tiny Wild Blueberries.  You can find these frozen year-round, and they pack enough sweetness that you can often cut the sugar in recipes.  I used this trick from my Wild Blueberry Muffins.

Storing:

  • Dry:  Above all, keep berries in a dry location.  It's best to place fresh blueberries on a plate or colander, lined with a paper towel, uncovered in the fridge.  
  • Cold:  Keep blueberries refrigerated and eat within 10 days.

How to Clean and Cook:

  • How to Clean: Make a Berry Bath by filling a large bowl with cold water.  Carefully pour the berries into the bath and swish around for 20 seconds.  Use your hands to remove the berries and drain in a fine-mesh colander.  Best to wash berries just before enjoying or freezing.
  • How to Cook: Enjoy berries for easy, healthy snacking.  Simmer with a little water for Berry Compote.  Add to muffins, use in a Blueberry Crisp, fold into Pancakes, or top a Chia Parfait

Nutrition (help from World's Healthiest Foods)

  • Low Calorie, Fat Free, Cholesterol Free, Low Sodium, High in Fiber
  • Very Good Source of: Vitamin C, Manganese, Vitamin K
  • Good Source of: Fiber, Copper
  • Phytonutrients: 
    • Anthocyanins
    • Hydroxycinnamic acids
    • Hydroxybenzoic acids
    • Flavonols
    • These function as Antioxidants and Anti-Inflammatory compounds
  • Other phenol-related phytonutrients
  • Shown to protect against Macular Degeneration, improve Cardiovascular function, protect vision
  • Freezing doesn't impact the nutritional power of blueberries (source: National Library of Medicine

Blueberry Recipes

Healthy, Oil-Free Plant-Based Vegetarian Dishes