In terms of U.S. fruit consumption, blueberries rank only second to strawberries in popularity. Blueberries are repeatedly ranked in the U.S. diet as having one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings. And they taste so good in our recipes!

History of Blueberries

Blueberries hold a special place in the foods of North America, since more species of blueberries are native to North America than any other continent. To this day, the United States cultivates and supplies over half of all blueberries in the world. Among the 275 million pounds of blueberries grown in the U.S., Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, and North Carolina are states most heavily involved in blueberry farming. Because of its special interest in lowbush blueberries, the state of Maine is actually the largest lowbush blueberry producer in the world.

How to Select and Store Berries

Choose blueberries that are firm and have a lively, uniform hue colored with a whitish bloom. Shake the container, noticing whether the berries have the tendency to move freely; if they do not, this may indicate that they are soft and damaged or moldy. Avoid berries that appear dull in color or are soft and watery in texture.  

Before storing remove any crushed or moldy berries to prevent the rest from spoiling. Don't wash berries until right before eating as washing will remove the bloom that protects the berries' skins from degradation. Store ripe blueberries in a covered container in the refrigerator where they will keep for up to 3 days. If kept out at room temperature for more than a day, the berries may spoil.

Ripe berries can also be frozen, although this will slightly change their texture and flavor. Before freezing, wash, drain and remove any damaged berries. To better ensure uniform texture upon thawing, spread the berries out on a cookie sheet or baking pan, place in the freezer until frozen, then put the berries in a plastic bag for storage in the freezer.

Where to find blueberries in Johnston County at markets or pick-your-own farms:

Creekside Farm
300 Pine Tree Road, Selma
919-965-9969

Smith's Nursery
443 Sanders Rd., Benson
919-934-1700

L & G Farms
6536 Meadowbrook Rd., Benson
919-553-3525

Thompson Orchards
4301 US Hwy 701 S., Four Oaks
919-934-8434

Lee's Produce
401 W. Main St., Clayton
919-550-8613

Clayton Farm and Community Market
439 E. Main St., Clayton
919-965-9969

 

Blueberry Cobbler

Blueberry-CobblerIngredients

    1 bag (1 pound) frozen blueberries (about 3- ½ cups)
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    ¾ cup turbinado (raw) sugar or granulated sugar, divided
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    ½ cup milk
    3 tablespoons butter, melted
    ¾ cup boiling water

Instructions

    Preheat oven to 350°F
    Spread blueberries in ungreased 8 or 9-inch square baking dish or pan
    Sprinkle with cornstarch
    Drizzle with lemon juice
    Set aside
    In medium bowl combine flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder and salt
    Add milk and butter
    Stir just until combined (not smooth)
    Drop mounds of dough onto blueberries
    Pour boiling water over dough and fruit
    Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup sugar
    Bake until biscuits are golden brown and blueberries are bubbly, 45 to 50 minutes
    Serve warm or at room temperature

Number of servings (yield): 8