Blue skies, calm blue waters… there’s a reason we associate the color with calm and creativity, science shows. But blueberries, those adorable little berries, also have their charms—and their health benefits. Considered the “king of fruits” when it comes to micronutrients, they don’t boast the vitamin C of citrus, nor the potassium of bananas. Phytonutrients, though, they have in spades. (Think: anti-inflammatory and antioxidant aspects, which may help protect against some diseases.) In fact, among all the fruits considered to have antioxidant properties, blueberries are tops. So eat (and drink!) more of them.
Here’s how to pick, store and cook (or just eat!) more of these little beauties today.
Selecting and Storing Blueberries
Look for firm, dry, smooth berries that have a slight powdery-white bloom on their surfaces. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week or freeze to enjoy during the off-season. Freeze blueberries in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer them to an airtight container.
Ripe blueberries are fragile; handle them with care. If any stems remain, pinch them off and discard. Rinse the berries with cool water just before using and allow them to drain on paper towels. To encourage even distribution in muffin or cake batters, gently toss the berries while they’re still moist with a small amount of flour before folding them into the batter itself.
If you can keep yourself from eating the whole pint full of berries raw, consider this stunning sunken blueberry cake. It is gorgeous on a brunch table, where guests will delight in the addition of a fudgy mascarpone whipped cream. The cake itself is all sweetness (berries and sugar) and light (ricotta and sour cream). Lemon juice keeps the whole thing feeling sprightly, but look how decadent it appears.
Hubba, hubba, spelt waffles with blueberry compote. Chef Bobby Flay developed this recipe, which shines in part because the waffles themselves boast spelt and whole-wheat flour. Add on all of blueberries’ marvelous nutritive properties, and you’ve got a pretty stellar way to start your day. Got extra of that lemon-ricotta cream and blueberry compote? Well, your scones and biscuits just got even tastier.
Lemon and blueberries are BFFs for a reason. Each has its properties of sweetness and tartness, plus those gorgeous aromas. Lemon-blueberry drizzle cake is just the thing to bring to any party, shower or picnic. It’s got a triple-dose of lemon flavor: zest in the batter, syrup that you brush on while the cake is still warm, and a sweet glaze drizzled over the top. It goes beautifully with mimosas, Champagne, coffee or tea.
It’s just the two of you, plus a porch, or a lake, or a mountain. You want something special and summery, but not too difficult. This gin, prosecco and blueberry juice infusion just could take the place of that Aperol Spritz you’ve been sipping all summer. Or, if you prefer your cocktail shaken not stirred, try our blueberry-verbena collins. It utilizes a very aromatic lemon verbena-blueberry simple syrup. Add ice, vodka, and seltzer, garnish with berries and sprightly lemon verbena leaves, and you’ll exhale.
So you went completely nuts at the farmer’s market or orchard and came home just rolling in berries. Good for you. Make this three-berry cobbler. It’s an exclamation point among desserts, the sort of “Yes! Summer!” that everyone delights to see. It requires electric beaters, not a stand mixer, so it tends not to become a Whole Thing in terms of dishes. We also love the “drop batter,” which can be spooned on top, willy-nilly, with no need for rolling or fussing. And there’s only a third of a cup of sugar in the whole darn thing, because summer fruit is the sweetest.
It can be the Fourth of July or not, guys. Blueberry skillet pie is there for you, either way. You’ll want your star cookie cutters to keep things festive. Just remember to make this an hour in advance of when you need it. (We love warm blueberry pie, too, but this one needs a little time to set up.) And don’t forget the vanilla ice cream! God bless America … and blueberries.