Florida Produce: Blueberries
Versatile and delicious, Florida blueberries are one of my favorite fruits. Grown in mostly inland Florida counties, the blueberry is available from March through May, with peak availability in April. Blueberries, like all other dark purple and blue fruits, are high in antioxidants, which can help with the aging process.
How to buy
They should be firm and brightly colored. Always check the bottom of the container for stains from rotting or moldy berries. Blueberries should be consumed two to three days after purchase.
Tips for storage
Never allow blueberries to dry out. Use a damp paper towel to help keep moisture in the package, but do not rinse them until it is time to eat them. As soon as blueberries start to wilt, separate by hand. To freeze blueberries, arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. This way they will freeze evenly and you won’t end up with a brick of frozen berries. After they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag and be sure to label with the date. They can be stored frozen for up to six months.
Wash blueberries before eating. Add blueberries to batters or mixes at the last minute to prevent them from breaking. Use frozen leftover blueberries in smoothies or milkshakes. Lightly heat with sugar and a splash of brandy to make a wonderful topping for desserts or ice cream.
Flavors well with:
Lemon, cinnamon, cloves, pecans, peaches, yogurt, mint
Here’s another delicious and simple recipe from our Chef Justin.
Blueberry and Blue Cheese Salad
Yield 4 Servings
1 cup fresh Florida blueberries
8 cups salad greens (spring mix, romaine or your favorite)
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons Florida honey
1/2 cup blue cheese (Stilton or Gorgonzola can also be used)
3 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil, or olive oil if you prefer
1 tablespoon mild vinegar (white or rice wine vinegar)
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together oil, sour cream, honey, vinegar and lemon juice. Taste vinaigrette and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Rinse and dry blueberries.
In a medium-sized bowl, dress the salad greens with a small amount of vinaigrette and toss. Add more vinaigrette if necessary. Place dressed salad greens on serving plate, and top with blueberries and blue cheese.