Ingredient Feature: Blueberries
The family of blueberries, Vacinnium, includes over 450 species. Native to North America, wild blueberries were used for food and medicinal purposes for centuries by the native population and colonists. “An important step in the development of the highbush blueberry industry came in the turn of the century. Efforts in the early 1900’s by Elizabeth White and Dr. Frederick Coville to domesticate the wild highbush blueberry resulted in today’s cultivated highbush blueberry industry.” (foodreference.com) Currently highbush blueberry production is active in 38 states and Canada.
HOW TO SELECT
Small, deep blue berries with smooth skin are ideal. Fresh berries have a slight pop when bitten into. Avoid berries that appear shriveled or mushy. Refrigerate and use within 10 days of purchase. Berries also freeze well in a single layer in the freezer and can be stored for later use in smoothies or pies.
HOW TO PREPARE
Blueberries are a superfood, loaded with antioxidents, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. They work extremely well in pies, gallettes, and tortes, providing a not-to-sweet counterpoint for rich, buttery pastry. They’ve got a great yield and are easy to work with, requiring little to no prep, making them a good ingredient for simple dessert preparations. On the savory side, consider pairing blueberries with fatty foie gras or a cheese plate. And consider including blueberries in your cocktail program!