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MAIN Arrow to HealthHealth Arrow to NutritionNutrition

Go Wild with Blueberries

No-Bake Frozen Lemon Cheesecake with BlueberriesIf berries were people, the strawberry would be a flashy, attention-seeking celebrity; the raspberry would be an exotic, snooty, slightly unattainable intellectual; and the blueberry would be, well, your best friend next door.

Small, unpretentious, reliable and good-natured, the blueberry is very much a North American native.

Cultivated blueberries are larger and plumper than their wild cousins - but the wild ones, which are widely available frozen, have a more concentrated flavor.

Blueberries are a great choice for healthy low calorie desserts. These little berries are high in fiber and potassium and low in sodium and calories. A half cup serving is only 40 calories - a dream dessert for anyone on a diet!

There are plenty of other health benefits packed into these little blue fruits. Researchers at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts compared the antioxidant activity of blueberries to 40 other types of fruits and vegetables. Blueberries came out number 1.

Antioxidants are thought to be helpful in slowing down aging, reducing the risk of getting many types of cancer and lowering cholesterol. The pigment anthocyanin that gives the berries their dark blue color seems to be the reason for these benefits. In addition to their special role in fighting disease, blueberries can help keep you "in the pink" they are also packed with Vitamin K, Vitamin C, manganese and copper.

The best time to buy blueberries? Experts say the peak season for blueberries in North America is July and August, although you can buy frozen blueberries (great for spooning over desserts) or dried blueberries (that are perfect for baking into muffins) at anytime of year.

More fun facts about blueberries

blueberries• Early American colonists made their own paint by mixing blueberries in boiled milk.

• Because of peak harvest time, July has been named national blueberry month.

• Blueberries must be picked at their optimum flavor since they don't ripen after being picked. (It takes 2-5 weeks for blueberries to ripen on the bush.) After being picked, blueberries get moldy if they are not stored in a cool, dry place.

.• Where do blueberries come from? The United States is the world's major producer of blueberries accounting for more than 564 million pounds per year -- making the blueberry the nation's second largest berry crop. The strawberry is No. 1.

• America's favorite muffin? You guessed it. Blueberry.

About the Author... Editorial Staff

Source: News Canada

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