Research on Blueberries
How To Store Blueberries
You can store your blueberries in a number of ways. Before you store the berries, carefully go through the berries, discard any soft berries or berries with white areas on their skin, and remove stems. If you are planning to refrigerate or freeze your blueberries, do not wash the berries before you store them; wait to wash the berries until you are ready to use them. Cool your berries down to room temperature before storing them. By doing this, you can avoid a lot of condensation in the blueberry containers. Spread the blueberries out on cookie sheets or jelly roll pans and place the sheets or pans in front of a fan for a while before storing them, your blueberries will last longer. If you refrigerate your blueberries, put a folded paper towel in the container to absorb some of the condensation. Stored this way in the refrigerator, your blueberries should last at least a week. I have found that the best way to freeze blueberries is to freeze them individually. After I have graded the berries I leave the blueberries in a single layer on cookie sheets and place the cookie sheets in the freezer until the berries have frozen. (If your household is like mine, you may want to let family members know the cookie sheets are in the freezer, so someone does not tip the pans by accident. Believe me, chasing blueberries across the floor loses its appeal pretty fast.) When the berries are frozen (within 24 hours), I transfer the berries to freezer bags or other freezer containers. When you are ready to use the berries, you will find them easy to measure. The berries should be good up to twelve months.
Interesting Facts and Studies:
- In a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) laboratory at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, researchers have found that blueberries rank #1 in antioxidant activity when compared to 40 other fresh fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful by-products called "free radicals" that can lead to cancer and other age-related diseases. Anthocyanin - the pigment that makes blueberries blue - is thought to be responsible for this major health benefit.
- Researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey have identified a compound in blueberries that
promotes urinary tract health and reduces the risk of infection. It appears to work by preventing
bacteria from adhering to the cells that line the walls
of the urinary tract.
- Blueberries may reduce the build-up of so called "bad" cholesterol that contributes to cardiovascular disease and stroke, according to scientists at the University of California at Davis. Once again, the antioxidants are believed to be the active component.
- In another USDA lab at Tufts University, neuroscientists discovered that feeding blueberries to
laboratory rats slowed age-related loss in their mental capacity, a finding that has important
implications for humans. Again, the high antioxidant
activity of blueberries probably played a role.
- Blueberries are also low in sodium and high in dietary fiber and potassium ... all this for only 40 calories per 1/2 cup serving!