Ahhhh, springtime! South Florida folk: That means it’s time for our local blueberry harvest!
Blueberries are tops in the fruit kingdom and in fact qualify as a “superfood” due to the amount of micronutrients & phytonutrients inherent, packing strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which are protective against heart disease, colon and other types of cancers and the genesis of countless chronic illnesses. The beneficial phytonutrients in blueberries are anthocyanins, a type found in other fruits and veggies with red, blue and purple pigments. Blueberries are also full of fiber and high in vitamin C, have anti-aging and memory enhancement properties, are infection-fighting and can improve your eyesight! Have you left for the produce stand yet?
Florida blueberries begin arriving this month and we can generally find them until June; afterward you will begin seeing shipments from across the globe. Make sure you check the labeling carefully! The best benefit of buying locally: Florida blueberries were picked a few days before you see them in the market, so you are buying an honestly fresh fruit! Florida berries are not picked before ripe and therefore do not need to be repackaged upon arrival to the store after all the rotten ones are pulled out. And buying locally supports local farms and communities—money spent here, stays here and provides support to local jobs, our friends & neighbors.
Have fun this blueberry season & get creative. While they rock by themselves, it’s a thrill to your taste buds to use blueberries as complements to green salads with feta or goat cheese and some nuts and pears; or drop them into some Greek yogurt with a drop of honey! At only 80 calories per cup, you’re getting a nutritional powerhouse packed in each little berry! For a cool treat, give this tasty recipe a whirl:
Florida Blueberry Parfait Chiller
Yields 2 servings
You will need:
2½ cups of fresh Florida blueberries
½ cup of milk or milk alternative
2 cups yogurt (plain or vanilla) dairy or alternate
8 ice cubes
1 cup of walnuts (or a nut or your choice)
A few sprigs of mint or parsley
Place 2 cups of blueberries, milk, yogurt and ice into a blender and combine until smooth and creamy (you can add more milk, if needed). Layer the blender mixture, remaining blueberries & nuts in 2 parfait glasses. Garnish each with a sprig of mint, parsley or other herb, to taste. Serve directly & enjoy!