In the early 20th century, people didn’t think blueberries could be domesticated, but Elizabeth White, the daughter of a New Jersey farmer, was determined to grow a flourishing industry for cultivated blueberries. In 1911, she teamed up with USDA botanist Frederick Coville to identify wild plants with the most desirable properties, crossbreed the bushes and create vibrant new blueberry varieties. Coville and White harvested and sold the first commercial crop of blueberries out of Whitesbog, NJ, in 1916.
Don’t let their miniature size fool you— blueberries are proof that, when it comes to health benefits, good things really do come in small packages.
Blueberries are packed with vitamin C nutrition. In just one serving, you can get almost 16 percent of your daily requirement of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for growth and development of tissues and promotes wound healing.
Blueberries are a good source of dietary fiber. A handful of blueberries can help you meet your daily fiber requirement. Dietary fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease and adds bulk to your diet, which may help you feel full faster.
Blueberries are high in manganese. Manganese helps the body process cholesterol and nutrients such as carbohydrates and protein.
Plus, one easy way to make sure you’re eating a balanced diet is to fill at least half of your plate with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables… and blueberries provide that perfect shade of blue!
How the combination of all the nutrients in this powerful little berry can be good for us is the subject of ongoing scientific research.
Tip: How to freeze blueberries
Use fresh blueberries that are completely dry when you pop them in the freezer. Don’t worry about rinsing the berries before you freeze them; simply place them, still in their original containers, in resealable plastic bags and store them on your freezer shelf.
If you prefer to rinse the blueberries first, dry them well with paper towels, then transfer them to freezer containers or resealable plastic bags for freezing. The blueberries will freeze individually so you can remove just the portion you need.
If you didn’t wash your blueberries before freezing them, rinse them just before use.
For best results, toss your home-frozen blueberries into oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, shakes or sauces within 10 months.