July is National Blueberry Month, and what better way to celebrate than learning how to freeze this nutrient-packed fruit so you can enjoy all the benefits it has to offer year-round.

Nutritional benefits:

• Antioxidant-rich: Blueberries rank among the highest foods for antioxidant content per serving. Antioxidants help fight cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related diseases.

• Vitamin C: Blueberries are an excellent source of vitamin C. This vitamin is needed for growth and repair within the body and promotes a healthy immune system.

• Brain health: Studies have shown blueberries improve learning capacity and help heal damaged brain cells.

• Fiber: Blueberries rank as a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber aids in heart health, digestion and lowering cholesterol.

• Low-calorie: One cup of blueberries is only 80 calories!

How to freeze:

• Fresh is best: Use berries from home gardens, buy locally or select from supermarkets for the best quality. Discard bruised berries and freeze unwashed and completely dry.

• An easy freeze: Unlike other fruits, berries will freeze with ease several different ways. Lay berries flat on a tray, or place in freezer containers or resealable freezer bags. If using a tray, transfer to freezer containers once frozen.

• Learn to label: Always label frozen foods with the date processed and content of container. Properly frozen and stored products should be used within one year.

• Enjoy your efforts: Easily remove the portion you need, as you need it; remember to wash before consuming.

 

FROZEN BLUEBERRY BITES

Frozen yogurt blueberry bites. A refreshing summer treat!

Time: 60 minutes or more

Prep Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours

Servings: 1 serving

Calories: 136 kcal

INGREDIENTS

1 cup blueberries

1/2 cup vanilla or fruit flavored yogurt or dairy-free alternative

A few toothpicks

INSTRUCTIONS

Place a berry on a toothpick and dip in yogurt.

Place single-layered on a parchment or wax paper-lined cookie sheet.

Freeze for about an hour (they should freeze fast).

Eat immediately or store in an airtight container in the freezer.

 

-- Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at tshaffer@hy-vee.com.