Notes for the Road: Walk Georgia Blog

July is National Blueberry Month!

Blueberries

Blueberries are consistently listed as one of the top ten superfoods. A superfood is a food that is rich in compounds considered beneficial to a person’s health. Containing high levels of anti-oxidants and fiber, blueberries have no known side effects, very few allergies and can help slow the aging process.

Many Georgia farmers have worked relentlessly over the past three decades to boost our state’s blueberry production and adequately meet the demands of consumers. The increase in blueberry production in the state has been bolstered by the extension support and research of the University of Georgia’s faculty and facilities. Georgia produced 92 million pounds of blueberries last year, according to the North American Blueberry Council. Not long ago, Georgia farmers grew about 3,500 acres of blueberries, but today they are cultivating over 20,000 acres of the crop, and production has grown tenfold.

Look for You Pick Farms nearby, your local farmers market or grocery store to stock up now while prices are low.

Buying Georgia Blueberries:

  • Look for firm, plump, dry berries with smooth skin and a silvery/hazy sheen
  • Avoid soft or shriveled fruit, or any signs of mold

Storing Fresh Georgia Blueberries:

  • Refrigerate as soon as you bring them home, either in the original package or in a storage container
  • Don’t wash berries right away – wait until you’re ready to eat them.
  • As with any fresh food, you should eat them as soon as possible.  The fresher they are, the more nutrients they will have.  Generally, blueberries will last about a week to 10 days in the fridge.

Freezing Blueberries

  • Unlike with other berries, you should not wash them before freezing, especially if you plan to thaw and eat them without cooking.  Washing blueberries before you freeze them can cause tougher skins.
  • Place the dry berries on a cookie sheet or other flat dish that fits in your freezer.  Place the tray in the freezer and allow the berries to freeze until hard, preferably overnight.
  •  Place frozen berries into freezer storage bags, containers or vacuum sealing bags.  To prevent freezer burn, try to get as much air out of the storage container as possible.
  • Always wash before using. Keep up to six month in freezer.

Sources:  The Georgia Blueberry Commission

Top 10 Blueberry Producing States

National Center for Home Food Preservation