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Picking the best berries

July 07, 2004

Blueberry facts and tips from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council at www.ushbc.org on the Web include:

  • Blueberries get their color from their high content of anthocyanin, a water-soluble pigment that imparts colors ranging from blue to shades of red.

  • Lowbush blueberries, which are grown in northern Maine and parts of Canada, are wild varieties of the fruit. Highbush blueberries are the cultivated, or improved, varieties.

  • Look for fresh blueberries that are firm and dry. The skin should be smooth and deep purple-blue.

  • Store fresh blueberries covered in the refrigerator. Use within 10 days.

  • Wash blueberries just before serving.

  • Blueberry muffins should contain 33 percent fruit. Blueberries should be the last ingredient added to a muffin batter, just before the batter is poured into the muffin pan. Avoid mixing too much as it may cause breakage and color bleeding.

  • To freeze blueberries, place fresh berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in freezer. Do not wash. After frozen, transfer berries to an airtight plastic bag or freezer container and store. Wash before using.

  • To hasten blueberry ripening, place an apple in a bag with the berries.
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