Blueberries are not rotten chocolate chips…

One morning we delivered some freshly-baked blueberry muffins to our neighbors…

Reading that, I’m laughing because it sounds so picture perfect, doesn’t it? You can just envision my little children, nicely taking turns in our well-ordered kitchen. A little flour dusting their happy, rosy faces as they cheerfully walk to the neighbors with a warm plate of delicious muffins — steam wafting into the air. Ha!

In reality, it was more likely they were shoving each other on the kitchen stool in order to be the next person to add an ingredient. I’m sure there were also some shrieks of, “It’s not fair!” because someone got to put in a teaspoon more of stuff than some else. And of course there was the wild search for the muffin papers (so much for the well-ordered kitchen) that I know I got at the store yesterday but can’t seem to find…probably under someone’s bed, half gone, having been used for Polly Pocket boats in the bathtub…no wonder the drain was plugged with little bits of mystery paper last night! Anyway…

We eventually got our muffins delivered, despite the chaos, and went home feeling good about our little act of service. Later, our neighbor filled me in on what happened next.

Her 3-year old son eagerly bit into his muffin. He chewed enthusiastically and then started gagging and making terrible faces. Wide-eyed, he choked out, “These chocolate chips are ROTTEN, Mom!”

I’m not sure my opinion would’ve been much different if I’d been expecting chocolate chips and found blueberries instead, but these sweet little berries have a multitude of health benefits that make them well worth eating on a regular basis. (And they really do taste good!)

Extremely high in anti-oxidants, blueberries are really good at free-radical neutralization. Studies show they prevent memory loss, heart disease, cancer, cataracts, varicose veins, glaucoma, and a host of other unwanted conditions. In addition, they slow the aging process and reduce cell damage – quite an impressive list of accomplishments for such a little fruit!

As far as storage goes, fresh blueberries are definitely my first choice, followed by frozen. I try to keep 1-2 bags in my freezer all the time. If we live in an area that has you-pick patches, we pick our own, freezing them on cookie sheets and then storing them in freezer bags to last through the winter. If we can’t pick our own, Costco usually has the best price on frozen berries.

In addition, canned blueberries in light syrup can be found in the baking section of most groceries stores (with the pumpkin and pie fillings). They’re not bad if you don’t have other options. I’ve also purchased freeze-dried berries from Emergency Essentials and Honeyville Farms. Right now they cost about $32 for a #10 can, but after blueberry season passes, they’ll most likely be on sale for a little less. 

However you decide to store them and use them in your storage, blueberries have the taste and health benefits to justify the cost. Just don’t expect chocolate! –Mellyn 

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