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Blueberries are native to North America where they grow throughout the woods and mountainous regions in the United States and Canada.

Blueberries grow in clusters and range in size from that of a small pea to a marble. The color of blueberries range from blue to maroon to purple-black. Blueberries have a white-gray waxy protective coat that covers the surface of its skin.

Blueberry flavors range from mildly sweet to tart and tangy. Blueberries are at their best from May through October when they are in season.

Types of blueberries

There are about 30 different varieties of blueberries. Different varieties grow in different geographical regions.

Health benefit of blueberries

Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants. The antioxidants in blueberries neutralize free radical damage to the collagen matrix of cells and tissues. If left untreated, free radical damage to collagen can cause cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, heart disease and cancer.

How to pick blueberries

If you buy blueberries from a grocery store:

  • Choose blueberries that are firm and have a lively, uniform hue colored with a whitish bloom.
  • Shake the container, to see if the blueberries move freely. If they do not move freely, they may be soft, damaged, and/or moldy.
  • Avoid blueberries that appear dull in color or are soft and watery in texture. Water will cause blueberries to decay.

How to store blueberries

Before storing, remove any damaged berries to prevent the spread of mold. Store ripe blueberries in a covered container in the refrigerator. Ripe blueberries can be stored in the refrigerator for about 7 days. Don't wash blueberries until you are ready to eat or cook them. Do not leave the blueberries at room temperature. If kept at room temperature for more than a day, the blueberries may spoil.

How to freeze blueberries

Ripe blueberries can be frozen. If you freeze blueberries, they will lose a little of their texture and flavor. Frozen blueberries are great for smoothies. Before freezing, wash, drain and remove any damaged blueberries. Berries should last up to a year in the freezer.

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