Hey! Have you guys done the Blueberry Eat Me Quiz yet?

Don’t wait until it’s too late!

To finish off the month, I thought I’d share this infographic from the US Highbush Blueberry Association. I love infographics and this one is all about blueberries. Ergo it is awesome.

Blueberry Infographic from the US Highbush Blueberry Association

Disclaimer: The US Highbush Blueberry Association donated one of the prizes for the Blueberry Eat Me Quiz. I was not compensated for this post, all thoughts and opinions are my own. My opinion is the blueberries and infographics are awesome. 

Hope you’re having a great week and enjoying blueberries,

-Diana

By the way, do you have a favorite infographic?

Buying, Storing, and Preparing Blueberries

Hi!

I hope that you’ve been enjoying blueberries as much as I have this month!

I thought I’d share a few ideas about what to do with blueberries so you don’t get stuck in a rut. (Not that that’s really a problem with blueberries.)

Buying, Storing, and Preparing Blueberries from https://projecteatme.wordpress.com

What are the best blueberries to buy?

Choose fresh berries that are firm, dry, plump, and free of mold. They should be deep purple-blue to blue-black and have a whitish coating. If they are reddish, they aren’t ripe but can be used for sauces. Avoid soft or shriveled berries. Make sure the container is not packed too tightly so the berries don’t become squished and check for juice stains or moisture on the container which could indicate spoilage.

Frozen blueberries are another great option when they will be cooked, blended, dried, or added to cereal. Avoid bags of frozen berries that have obvious stains or frost on the outside of the bag or that are frozen into one big lump as this may indicate the berries have been thawed and then refrozen.

How should I store my blueberries?

Blueberries should be stored in the refrigerator and can usually be stored for up to 10 days.

If you are unable to use your blueberries within a few days, try freezing them. Just wash, drain, and remove any damaged berries first. Arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them to a plastic freezer bag or container. Store them in the freezer for up to a year. Surprisingly, research has shown the frozen blueberries have nearly as much antioxidant capacity as fresh ones.

How do I prepare blueberries?

Briefly wash and dry fresh berries and they are ready to use!

Blueberries are great to eat raw and can be eaten on their own or added to salads, hot or cold cereal, or eaten on top of yogurt, pancakes, mouse, or any other number of things. They can also be blended and added to smoothies, baked into muffins or crisps, or cooked into jams.

What can I make with my blueberries?

Check out this Pinterest board for all things blueberry.

Blueberry Pinterest Board

I’d love to hear any great blueberry ideas you have too!

Eat Blueberries!

Hello friends!

Did you know that July is Blueberry Month?

I just love when there’s a whole month for celebrating  yummy foods instead of just a one day holiday!

I bought some blueberries at the grocery store and have been enjoying them in my cereal, in my wine (it makes me feel fancy), and on their own. I’m also looking forward to going blueberry picking – maybe next weekend?

But I also figured we could celebrate blueberries here so let’s start with talking about the basics.

Eat Blueberries

What food group do blueberries belong to?

Honestly, if you get this one wrong, you need to go back to first grade.

Was that too mean?

I speak the truth.

Blueberries are a fruit.

And, the amount of fruit you need to eat depends on age, sex, and level of physical activity but most adults should be eating about 1.5 to 2 cups per day. Why not include 1/2 cup of blueberries?

Fun fact: Blueberries are the second most commonly eaten berry in the U.S.

Blueberry Nutrition Facts

Blueberry Nutrition

Like most fruit, blueberries are naturally low in calories, sodium, sugar, and fat, and are cholesterol-free.

Blueberries are an excellent source of vitamin K, a very good source of manganese and vitamin C, and a good source of fiber. In addition, blueberries are phytonutrient superstars with significant amounts of anthocyanins – the antioxidant compounds that give blueberries their distinctive color.

Plain English Summary: Blueberries are little blue dynamos of nutrition!

What are the health benefits of blueberries?

Heart health: Researchers found that blueberry supplementation reduced blood cholesterol levels and may reduce risk from cardiovascular disease.

Antioxidant support: Wild blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity per serving, compared with more than 20 other fruits.

Brain health: A diet of blueberries may improve motor skills and reverse short-term memory loss that comes with aging.

Cancer prevention: Studies conducted at North Carolina State University indicate that compounds in wild blueberries may be effective inhibitors of the initiation and promotion stages of cancer.

Urinary tract health: Research has show that blueberries, like cranberries, contain compounds that prevent the bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections from attaching to the bladder wall.

What’s your favorite way to eat blueberries? Leave a comment or tweet at me and I’ll share your recipe in a post later this month!

Buying, Storing, and Preparing Strawberries

Happy Valentines Day!

As I’m sure you can tell from the title, I’m going to talk a little more about my favorite heart-shaped fruit today.

Although I have a strange cousin that doesn’t like strawberries and have met a few kids that have never tried them, for most people, strawberries aren’t a new thing.

But figuring out the best way to buy and store them can actually be a challenge because they are quite perishable.

Strawberries

What are the best strawberries to buy?

Fresh strawberries are available year round in most grocery stores but the quality can vary. Choose berries that are firm, plump, and free of mold. They should have a shiny, deep red color with green stems. Strawberries don’t continue to ripen after they’ve been picked so avoid buying berries that are dull in color or have yellow or green patches. Choose small to medium-sized berries for more flavor.

Make sure the container is not packed too tightly so the berries don’t become squished and check for stains or moisture on the container which could indicate spoilage.

Frozen strawberries are another great option when they will be cooked, blended, dried, or added to cereal. Avoid bags of frozen berries that have obvious stains or frost on the outside of the bag or that are frozen into one big lump as this may indicate the berries have been thawed and then refrozen.

How should I store my strawberries?

Strawberries should be stored in the refrigerator. Interestingly, they stay fresh longer if stored at higher humidity so keep them in the produce drawer or a sealed container that traps humidity. Even when properly stored, strawberries should be used within 2-3 days or they will start to spoil.

If you are unable to use your strawberries within a few days, try freezing them.

To do this, you must first gently wash them in cold water, pat them dry, and remove the stems. Adding  a little lemon juice to the rinse water with help them keep their color. Arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them to a plastic freezer bag or container. Store them in the freezer for up to a year.

How do I prepare strawberries?

Do not wash strawberries until you are ready to use them and do not remove the stems until you have washed and dried them. Following these rules helps to prevent spoilage and prevent the strawberries from absorbing too much water and losing flavor. To remove the stems, simply pinch them with your fingers or use a paring knife to dig them out.

Strawberries are great to eat raw and can be eaten on their own or sliced and added to salads, hot or cold cereal, or eaten on top of yogurt, pancakes, mouse, or any other number of things. They can also be blended and added to smoothies, baked into muffins or crisps, or cooked into jams.

What can I make with my strawberries?

When I asked friends to share their favorite strawberry recipes on twitter, here’s some of what I heard:

Sounds like fresh out of the field or straight from the hand is a favorite. I guess if you’re starting with something as perfect as a strawberry, why risk ruining it?

I didn’t ask Sandi what recipe she used but I’d like to try these Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins from Simply Recipes.

I also started a Pinterest board for all things strawberries.

Pinterest Strawberries

I’d love to hear any great strawberries ideas you have too!

Strawberries

I can’t believe it’s already February – is it just me or is time flying this year?

As I was trying to decide what super food to focus on this month, I learned that

  • February is National Heart Month
  • February is also Berry Fresh Month
  •  February 27 is National Strawberry Day
  •  February 14th is Valentines Day – okay, I’ll admit, I already knew this one.

But this is definitely a sign that I should focus on STRAWBERRIES this month!

What? Are you not seeing the sign?

Valentines Day is represented by hearts, National Heart Month is um… about hearts, strawberries are berries, and strawberries look like hearts.

Strawberry Heart

Do you follow?

Well, either way.

Are wild strawberries really wild? Will they scratch an adult, will they snap at a child? Should you pet them, or let them run free where they roam? Could they ever relax in a steam-heated home? Can they be trained to not growl at the guests? Will a litterbox work or would they make a mess? Can we make them a Cowberry, herding the cows, or maybe a Muleberry pulling the plows, or maybe a Huntberry chasing the grouse, or maybe a Watchberry guarding the house, and though they may curl up at your feet oh so sweetly can you ever feel that you trust them completely? Or should we make a pet out of something less scary, like the Domestic Prune or the Imported Cherry, Anyhow, you’ve been warned and I will not be blamed if your Wild Strawberries cannot be tamed.

― Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends

What food group do strawberries belong to?

It’s not actually a trick question.

People are often confused because strawberries are not technically a berry. But they are still a type of fruit.

The amount of fruit you need to eat depends on age, sex, and level of physical activity but most adults should be eating about 1.5 to 2 cups per day. Why not include 1/2 cup of strawberries?

Strawberry Nutrition Facts

Strawberry Nutrition Facts

Like most fruit, strawberries are naturally low in calories, sodium, sugar, and fat, and are cholesterol-free.

Strawberries are fantastic sources of several key nutrients and offer an outstanding variety of  health-promoting phytonutrients. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese, a very good source of fiber, folate, and iodine and a good source of potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamin K.

Plain English Summary: Strawberries are more than just a deviously juicy fruit – they’re nutritious too!

So with all this nutritiousness, what can strawberries actually do for you?

What are the health benefits of strawberries?

Heart health: Research indicates that eating strawberries increases blood levels of heart-healthy nutrients (vitamin C, folate, fiber, potassium, and flavanoids). Eating strawberries also lowers homocysteine levels and blood pressure.

Cancer prevention: When freeze-dried strawberries were added to breast cancer cells and cervical cancer cells growing in a lab, the strawberries inhibited the growth of the cancer cells.

Cognitive function: In an animal study, long-term feeding with strawberry extract slowed age-related decline in cognitive function. Further testing is needed but this suggests that strawberries could help prevent age-related decreases in balance, muscle strength, coordination, learning ability, and memory.

Blood sugar benefits: Several recent studies have found regular intake of strawberries to be associated with decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.

What’s your favorite way to eat strawberries? Leave a comment or tweet at me and I’ll share your recipe in a post later this month!
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