Although we consider certain things, like baseball, apple pie and Coca-Cola, as 100% American, did you know that blueberries are a native American fruit? That’s right! The genus Vaccinium (which also includes cranberries, huckleberries and bilberries) is native to North America.
Unique Facts About Blueberries
Today, we understand the rich antioxidant effect that that these small berries possess; they are now grown commercially in more than 38 states, as well as in the Canadian provinces. More than 42,000 metric tons of blueberries are cultivated each year throughout the world, according to the United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization. To help celebrate national blueberry month, we’ve put together some facts and information so you can enjoy this very special, all-American fruit.
With its easy availability in fresh, frozen and canned varieties, it’s easier than ever to incorporate this versatile fruit into your favorite foods. Blueberry recipes are abundant in cookbooks and across the internet; one of the most popular recipes for summer is blueberry pie. If you’re making blueberry pie, our Non-Stick Pie Pan by Home-Style Kitchen is the perfect pie pan to use. Blueberry muffins and blueberry lemon cakes are ideal to bake in our Mini Loaf Pan and our Brownie Bar Pan muffin tins. Our favorite blueberry cake recipe is below.
Blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of any fruit. These antioxidants are important to help boost your immune system. They also help prevent infections, such as urinary tract infections. There are so many reasons to consult blueberry recipes and add these special fruits to daily diet!
Blueberry Lemon Cake
1 ¼ cup frozen blueberries
1 tbsp. powdered sugar
¾ cup white sugar
¼ cup melted butter
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1 2/3 cups flour
- Grate lemon zest onto a small plate.
- Cut lemon in two halves and squeeze juice from both halves.
- Whisk together 1 tbsp. of the lemon juice, 1 tsp. of the lemon zest and the powdered sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk white sugar, sour cream, melted butter, eggs, the remaining lemon zest and the remaining lemon juice in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, then set aside.
- Whisk salt, baking powder and the flour in a large separate bowl. Remove 3 tbsp. of the flour mixture and set aside.
- Make a well in middle of the flour mixture, then pour the milk in the well. Stir the batter until it is just combined.
- Fold the blueberries into the reserved 3 tbsp. of the flour mixture. Then fold the blueberries into the batter.
- Pour batter into the pan.
- Bake until a knife or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (about 60 minutes).
- Remove from oven.
- Immediately poke holes over the top of the loaf with a toothpick.
- Pour the topping evenly over the loaf.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
Stock up and Enjoy
If you’re in a climate that is conducive to growing blueberries, you may be fortunate enough to have an abundance of berries nearby, just ripe for picking! Those who have had the pleasure of blueberry bushes in proximity know that a ton of berries can be produced by one blueberry bush. Because of this, it’s often necessary to learn how to store your blueberries. Even if you don’t have easy access to these power-packed fruits, sometimes during the peak of the season blueberry pints are so inexpensive, it’s a great idea to stock up and store them for a sweet treat throughout the winter months. Anyone who has tried to keep blueberries in their fridge knows that they can quickly turn moldy, however, so time is of the essence when dealing with a large number of blueberries.
How to Preserve Your Blueberry Bounty
Until you’re able to cook or preserve your blueberries, it is important to keep an eye on them to spot mold. If one of your blueberries is moldy, it’s important to remove it from your existing blueberries. One bad blueberry can cause your others to become inedible in the blink of an eye. To keep your blueberries fresh, don’t rinse them until you’re ready to use them. If they are rinsed, it’s important that blueberries remain dry until they’re used. Our set of two produce keepers are great to keep blueberries, as well as other fresh fruits and veggies, fresh until they’re needed. Keep your blueberries inside a crisper drawer in your fridge, away from the circulating air of the main compartment. If they are dried and stored properly, refrigerated berries will stay good for up to a week. Very ripe berries should be prepared for storage immediately. They can remain frozen and stored for several months. The best way to freeze blueberries is to spread them out in one layer on a rimmed baking or cookie sheet. After they are frozen, add them to a plastic freezer bag. Miles Kimball also has great selection of kitchen organization and food storage products that can help you keep these berries in great condition until they can be used in your favorite blueberry recipes. Check out our ten-piece Memory Seal Silicone Storage Set by Homestyle Kitchen or ten-piece Sealed Storage Set by Chef’s Pride. These storage solutions not only keep your blueberries fresh, but they can also keep other summer fruits and veggies safely in your freezer until they are ready to be enjoyed.
Blueberries: Small but Mighty
Blueberries are not only yummy, they are a healthy, easy way to get concentrated vitamins and antioxidants! It’s no wonder they have been popular for so many years and have been important enough to get their very own month to shine. We hope you’ll take the opportunity while they’re in season this month to enjoy these treasures and incorporate them into your very own favorite blueberry recipes at home.