Carmen Iturbe, the dietician of dietistarural.com, help us learn more about this fruit native to North America whose commercialisation and growing has expanded in many other regions of the world due to its excellent properties.
Blueberries (different from cranberries, both belonging to the same family) are considered to be one the fruits with the highest antioxidants content (substances which protect the body from the damage caused by oxidising agents such as ultraviolet rays, environmental pollution, harmful chemical substances in food…), and it is fundamental to prevent cellular ageing and some types of cancer. Many studies have proved that the quantity of antioxidants of blueberries is affected by different factors, such as the growing method, the soil composition and the use of pesticides and fertilisers, but in the case of Mas Martinet’s blueberries, as they are organically grown, the maximum quantity of antioxidants is kept.
Among their many benefits, there is the increase of blood flow, which makes them good to prevent cardiovascular problems, precisely for their dilating effect on the blood vessels. Furthermore, blueberries have a very low glycaemic index, they have a very low sugars content, which makes them ideal for people with diabetes.
Their characteristic colour is due to the presence of anthocyanins, which are natural pigments that protect the body. Their role is to absorb ultraviolet light and create this dark blue/purple colour. The longer they stay under the sun, the bigger the amount of pigment will be, and the darker their colour will be. Their large anthocyanins and vitamin C content also makes them ideal to strengthen the visual system.
Harvesting at their optimal ripeness moment is fundamental for a higher concentration of this element. This is why their local consumption is important, to ensure that they are consumed as near the harvesting time as possible and, consequently, that they come to us in the best possible conditions.
They can be consumed fresh and dehydrated. They are perfect for salads, frozen for desserts and milkshakes/smoothies, in a juice or as a jam. The best way to consume them and get the maximum benefit for our health is, without a doubt, fresh, because when they are cooked, their antioxidants are gradually destroyed. In a milkshake/smoothie or juice, we cannot wait too much to drink them. What is evident in apples and pears, which from their colour we can detect immediately the oxidation caused by the contact of the flesh with the air, with blueberries it is more difficult to see, but the same reaction is caused. Therefore, they can stay 24 hours in the fridge covered, but we need to be careful if we keep them outside. It is important to dehydrate them, because this way, we concentrate the greatest number of nutrients in the fruit, and we can preserve it longer in optimal conditions. Otherwise, they must be frozen to preserve them up to 5/6 months in perfect conditions.
Blueberries are fruits, so as such, it is recommended to eat at least 5 portions a day, together with vegetables. We consider 1 portion the amount that fits in the palm of our hand.
Their great versatility in the kitchen makes them perfect for both salty and sweet dishes. They can be used in sauces, fresh, in milkshakes/smoothies… So, we invite you to try to find which is your favourite recipe, and also to include this fruit in your diet. There are many possibilities to choose.
Thank you so much, Camen, for sharing this information with us.