Get the summer blues – fresh blueberries are in peak season over July and August.
During the colder months of the year, we can all catch a case of the winter blues. It’s dark, it’s damp, and most importantly, our fruit fix seems to only come from the frozen section, leaving us unsatisfied and grouchy. It’s all too easy to throw on a pout along with our parkas, cursing the slippery sidewalks and lack of local produce options.
The summer blues are a bit different. Symptoms include blissfulness, blue-stained fingers, and incessant smiling (to reveal blue-tinted teeth).
If you haven’t succumbed yet, don’t worry—it’s pretty contagious. You too can get the summer blues and make the best of the remaining long, bright days of summer by digging your hands into a bowl of fresh blueberries, which are at their peak season over July and August.
Side effects can also include going through two or more boxes a day, and a reluctance to share any with friends and family—don\’t say that we didn\’t warn you.
Benefits of blueberries
Chock full of summer insouciance, these little blue orbs are also bursting with Vitamin C, antioxidants, fibre, and manganese, helping to keep our cardiovascular and immune systems supercharged. Considering that blueberries can support healthy bone structure, keep cholesterol levels in check, give skin a youthful glow, and reduce inflammation all at only 80 calories per delectable serving, it’s no wonder that North Americans consumed over 852 million pounds (378 million kg) of these petite powerhouses in 2011 alone.
Tips for the best bounty
Purchase locally grown blueberries that are deep indigo in colour, without any crushed berries or stains on the box. Pink-tinged or green berries mean that they’re under ripe. Fresh berries can be stored in the fridge for up to a week—if you can keep your hands off them for that long.
If you can’t bear the thought of facing the colder months without your succulent blue sidekicks, toss them into the freezer on a baking tray and pack them into bags once frozen. You can store them this way for up to a year.
Blueberries aren’t fussy. Try them out in a smoothie, a scone, a summer salad, as a crepe filling, even sprinkled over porridge—or help yourself to heaping handfuls of them in all their untouched glory.
Caught the blues yet? Share your favourite blueberry recipes with us via Twitterand Facebook, or in the blog comments below.