Blueberries can be enjoyed year-round!
Buying fresh blueberries
When you buy fresh blueberries, look for berries that are firm, dry, plump and smooth-skinned, with a silvery surface bloom and no leaves or stems. Size is not an indicator of maturity but color is—berries should be deep purple-blue to blue-black.
Reddish blueberries are not ripe, and will not ripen once they are picked, but you can use them in cooking. Avoid blueberries that look soft or shriveled or have any signs of mold. If you see juice stains in a container of blueberries, the fruit might be bruised.
Refrigerate fresh blueberries when you get them home, either in their original plastic pack or in a covered bowl or container. Be sure to wash your blueberries just before you start snacking and eat them within 10 days of purchase (that’s the easy part!).
Buying frozen blueberries
You can find pre-washed, unsweetened frozen blueberries packed in poly bags or boxes in most supermarket frozen food sections.
When you grab a bag of frozen blueberries, they should feel loose and not clumped together. They have been individually quick frozen, so you can remove a few at a time or use them in larger portions.
Store frozen blueberries in the freezer and sprinkle them onto ice cream, yogurt and oatmeal, or pop them right in your mouth for a refreshing treat. Frozen blueberries are easy to use in smoothies and fruit shakes. They add a flavorful punch to burgers and are ideal for baking blueberry muffins and scones.
If you do not use the whole bag of blueberries, return the rest to the freezer promptly. If you thaw the blueberries, cover, refrigerate and use them within three days.
Blueberry Apple Pie Bars
2 cups frozen blueberries
2 apples, cored, peeled and chopped
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2¼ cups quick rolled oats
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large skillet set over medium heat, combine blueberries, apples, sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon; cook, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes or until apples are tender and sugar dissolves.
Whisk together lemon juice, cornstarch and vanilla until smooth; whisk into fruit mixture. Bring to boil; cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the mixture to prevent skin from forming; let cool completely.
Crust—Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9-inch square baking pan with enough parchment paper to overhang edges; set aside.
Whisk together oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt; cut in butter with pastry blender or fingertips until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add in vanilla.
Press half of the mixture into the prepared pan. Spread apple and blueberry filling evenly over top. Sprinkle with the remaining oat mixture, pressing lightly.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is bubbling. Let cool completely on rack. Remove from pan and cut into bars.
Note: Toss ¼ cup chopped pecans, almonds or walnuts with the remaining oat mixture to sprinkle over the top of the filling if desired.