Bursting with sweet juicy flavor, blueberries are one of the few fruits native to North America. These dark bluish-purple gems are related to the cranberry, and they’ve featured in American cuisine since Colonial days.
Blueberries are a signature summer fruit. Fresh blueberry season runs regionally from late May through September, although cultivated berries from the southern hemisphere can now be found in most American markets during the winter months, ensuring a year-round supply. Though they might lack the intensity of wild berries, both domestic and imported cultivated fruit are delicious, nutritious and accessible.
With no effort at all beyond a quick wash, you can enjoy the incredible flavor of fresh, ripe blueberries as Nature intended: right out of your hand. But if you feel like getting creative in the kitchen, blueberries require virtually no prep and pay off handsomely in a wide variety of baked goods, jams, preserves, and desserts.
Why choose organic blueberries?
- Domestic blueberries are #13 (and imported blueberries are #22) on the Environmental Working Group's “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides,” a list of produce that carries the most pesticide residues when grown conventionally. You can lower your dietary exposure to pesticides substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables, and choosing organic for those items instead.
- At Earthbound Farm, we raise our delicate organic blueberries without toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, using sustainable farming methods that protect the environment and help keep pesticides out of our soil, air, water, and food supply. So choose organic blueberries to help keep our food and our planet healthier — we think you’ll agree that organic blueberries taste better, too!
- WhatsOnMyFood.org from the Pesticide Action Network shows you searchable results for fruits like blueberries and a wide range of other organic and conventional foods. It’s an easy-to-use and empowering tool for learning about pesticide residues and their health effects for all of us.
How to select and store blueberries
- Color is the best indication of a blueberry’s ripeness. Look for plump, shiny, dark-blue berries with a silvery “bloom” on their skins. This natural protective coating is a sign of freshness. Avoid berries with green or reddish spots — those “non-blue” berries aren’t fully ripe. Steer clear of soft or wrinkled-looking berries, and always turn the container upside down to check for mold.
- Though blueberries are considered a sturdy berry, you’ll enjoy them most if you eat them promptly. They won’t last more than 5 days in your refrigerator.
Tips for using blueberries
- Water hastens a blueberry’s demise, so store them unwashed. Just before using, swirl them in a bowl of cool water, then drain well and blot dry gently with paper towels.
- If you’re lucky enough to have a bounty of fresh berries, spread them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer them to zipper bags or airtight containers and they’ll keep beautifully for up to 6 months. In most cases, you don’t even have to thaw frozen berries before using them.