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    Monday
    Mar242014

    How Long Do Blueberries Last?

    With blueberry picking season right around the corner we are going to spend some time getting the most out of your blueberries.

    How long do blueberries last? The shelf life of blueberries depends when the blueberries were picked and how they are stored. Blueberries are a delicious fruit best in the spring and summer when they are fresh off the blueberry plant. Blueberries are a popular fruit because of their fresh sweet taste and ease of preparation – they can be eaten right off the stem (after rinsing of course) with little waste or used in hundreds of different ways including baked goods. So, how long do blueberries last? When properly stored, the shelf life of blueberries past their picked or purchased date is approximately …

    (Unopened/Opened)                       Counter     Refrigerator     Freezer

    Fresh Whole Blueberries last for     2-3 Days     7-10 Days     6-8 Months


    Of course, all foods last for a shorter period of time if they are not stored properly. But remember, blueberries, like a lot of other fresh fruits, usually do not have a use by date or a best before date so you will have to use the date purchased. Sometimes when blueberries are purchased in a package it is labeled with the date the they were packed or there will be a best buy date on blue purchased frozen – this date can be used to calculate the eat by date.
    Although freezing is an indefinite form of storage, frozen fruit tends to form ice crystals rapidly due to the high water content of fruit. Fruit frozen too long will eventually have more ice crystals than fruit as the blueberries dry out and shrink.

    How to tell if blueberries are bad, rotten or spoiled?

    Practicing proper hygiene and food safety discipline will help prevent food borne illness. Some common traits of bad blueberries are a mushy, soft texture and some discoloration and bruising and then mold will start to appear beginning where the stem was attached. Remember, if they are moldy, throw them out!

    There are, of course, certain health risks associated with spoiled blueberries, so always remember to practice food safety and enjoy your blueberries prior to the eat by date.

    How to store blueberries and extend their shelf life?

    Proper food storage is the key to extending the expiration date of food. Blueberries should be stored directly from the store into a sealed air-tight container to keep out moisture and other contaminants. Do not rinse your blueberries until immediately before use.
    Some benefits of proper food storage include eating healthier, cutting food costs and helping the environment by avoiding waste.

    How long are blueberries good for when prepared in a dish? 

    How long do blueberries last? That depends. How long do bakery products last? In general, blueberries last only as long as the quickest expiring ingredient in the dish. To find out how long those other ingredients are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or search below!

    What are our shelf life resources?

    Our how long do blueberries last content incorporates research from multiple resources, including the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Food & Drug Administration. In addition, we scoured the web for informative articles and reports related to food safety, food storage and the shelf life of blueberries.

    *An important note about expiration dates …

    Although the shelf life of blueberries information on Eat By Date is generally reliable, please remember that individual cases will vary and that our advice should only be taken as an opinion.

    Source

    Wednesday
    Mar192014

    Have a Very Berry Picnic 

    Boasting a wealth of nutritional benefits and a sweet, delectable taste, blueberries are a top choice among fruit eaters. Whether eaten raw or added to batters, smoothies and milkshakes, these tasty little berries add a burst of color and flavor to many dishes or snacks.

    "Sweet and tart, blueberries are one of my favorite treats," said Justin Timineri, Executive Chef and Culinary Ambassador, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. "Try visiting a blueberry farm and picking a bucket yourself!"

    Health Benefits
    Blueberries have one of the highest levels of antioxidants among fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants fight off organisms, like cell damaging free radicals, making them great for your health.

     
    Blueberry Barbecue Sauce 
    Yield: 4 to 6 servings 
       
    2 teaspoons vegetable oil
    1/4 cup minced Florida onion
    1/2 cup ketchup
    1/4 cup vinegar
    3 tablespoons light brown sugar
    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    2 cups fresh Florida blueberries
      Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
       

    Heat oil in non-reactive saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, stirring until almost translucent, about 3 minutes. Add ketchup, vinegar, sugar and mustard. Bring ingredients to a simmer. Add blueberries. Continue to simmer over low heat, stirring until thickened, about 10 minutes. Purée sauce in blender or food processor until smooth. Pass through strainer if smoother consistency is desired. Season with salt and pepper. Keep refrigerated and serve at room temperature.

    Kids Can: Help strain sauce after pureed.

     
    Grilled Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts 
    Yield: 4 servings 
       
    4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
      Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
    1 teaspoon vegetable oil
       

    Preheat grill to medium high heat. Trim chicken breasts of excess fat. Season both sides with salt and pepper and coat lightly with oil. Place on preheated grill. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 165°F. When done, remove from grill and let rest before serving. Serve with Blueberry Barbecue Sauce.

    Chef's Tip: Always add sauce last. The sugars in BBQ sauce can burn and become bitter if added to food while still on the grill.

     
    Blueberry Cobbler 
    Yield: 6 servings 
       
    For filling: 
    1/2 cup butter
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    4 cups fresh Florida blueberries, rinsed and dried
    1 cup sugar
       
    For topping: 
    1 cup self-rising flour
    1 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
    1/2 cup of milk
       

    To make filling, preheat oven to 375°F. Place butter in 8 x 8-inch square glass baking dish and melt in oven or microwave. In mixing bowl, combine lemon juice and blueberries. Add sugar and mix well. Add blueberry mixture to baking dish with melted butter. Do not stir. To make topping, combine all topping ingredients in small bowl. Pour mixture over blueberries and bake 45 minutes, or until brown.

    Kids Can: Help mix the filling.

     
    Blueberry-Lemon Corn Muffins 
    Yield: 6 servings 
       
      Paper muffin cup liners
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
    1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
    1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
      Pinch of salt
    1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
    1/2 cup whole milk
    2 large egg yolks
    1/2 cup fresh Florida blueberries, divided
       

    Preheat oven to 375°F and line six muffin cups with liners. In large bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Whisk in cornmeal, 1/2 cup sugar, lemon zest and generous pinch of salt. In separate bowl, whisk together melted butter, milk and yolks. Add to flour mixture with half of blueberries, gently stirring until just combined. Divide batter evenly among cups. Press remaining blueberries into tops of muffins. Sprinkle tops evenly with remaining sugar. Bake muffins on middle rack for about 15 minutes, or until tops are golden and tester comes out clean. Remove muffins from cups and cool on rack. Muffins keep in airtight container at room temperature for 2 days.

    Kids Can: Pour batter into pans and press blueberries into tops of muffins.

     
    Blueberry Smoothie 
    Yield: 2 servings 
       
    2 cups fresh Florida blueberries
    1 cup low-fat milk
    2 cups vanilla low-fat frozen yogurt
    8 ice cubes
       

    Rinse blueberries under cool water. Place blueberries in blender with half of milk. Make sure lid is tight. Blend on high speed until smooth. Add frozen yogurt, remaining milk and ice cubes; continue to blend until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately. Pour any leftovers into ice cube tray and freeze for later use.

    Kids Can: Help blend smoothies with adult supervision.

     

    Source

    Friday
    Mar142014

    Surprising Benefits of Blueberries

    You know that blueberries are good for you. But did you know that blueberries could help fight aging, combat disease, lower blood pressure, protect the heart and brain and even boost your memory?

    Intensive research by scientists working in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia continues to reveal the amazing health benefits of blueberries.

    Blueberries are divided into two major species: the wild ones, which are called "low bush," and the farmed berries that are "high bush." Both types have received a great deal of favorable attention from scientists over the past several years.

    Blueberries boost memory

    Researchers at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center achieved very interesting results when they studied the connection between blueberries and memory. Their study on older adults with early memory decline found that memory function was boosted by drinking the juice of wild blueberries for 12 weeks. The University of Cincinnati researchers noted: "To our knowledge, this is the first human trial assessing the potential benefit of blueberry supplementation on neurocognitive function in older adults with increased risk for dementia."

    It should be noted that this study involved a small group who consumed blueberry juice with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Given the interest in finding solutions to the growing problem of cognitive decline in aging, larger studies on blueberries and the mind should follow.

     

    What gives blueberries their nutritional power

    Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber. The color of blueberries, from deep blue to purple, is caused by a group of flavonoids called anthocyanins, which have remarkable antioxidant power.

    Laboratory tests suggest that anthocyanins may help to prevent degenerative diseases, including cancer, heart disease, stroke and memory loss.

    Blueberry anthocyanins may protect humans and animals from the effects of a condition known as oxidative stress, which underlies the common disorders associated with aging. Oxidative stress increases with high fat meals and with exposure to environmental toxins.

     

    Blueberries support heart health

    Recent research supported by the United States Department of Agriculture-Research, Education and Economics shows that eating blueberries may help combat cardiovascular disease.

    Scientists at the University of Arkansas fed mice a diet enhanced with blueberry powder, and found that it helped reduce atherosclerosis.

    Publishing their findings in the Journal of Nutrition, the researchers indicate that the benefit may be from the antioxidant effect of the blueberries, reducing the oxidative stress that leads to heart disease.

     

    Here's what eating blueberries can do for oxidative stress:

    When healthy volunteers ate blueberry powder along with a high fat meal, the blueberries produced a significant increase in the antioxidant status of their blood, compared to the high fat meal alone.

    When mice stressed by aging or by toxins were fed blueberries at a dose that would equal one cup a day for a human, their brains revealed a decrease in damage from oxidative stress. Blueberry-fed mice performed better than "control" mice (not fed blueberries) on tests of learning, memory and coordination.

    Preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs)

    Like their cousins, cranberries, blueberries contain flavonoids that can possibly prevent urinary tract infections. Blueberry flavonoids prevent bacteria that cause urinary infections from binding to the lining of the bladder and can even inhibit the growth of bacteria.

    Research on blueberries, cancer and cholesterol

    In addition to fighting oxidative stress, eating blueberries may potentially help to prevent cancer and heart disease through other mechanisms.

    Blueberry anthocyanins have shown the potential to possibly help inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells in certain research studies.

    A group of chemicals that are found in blueberries called stilbenes have possible cholesterol-lowering effects.

    Enjoying blueberries

    In season, it is easy to find luscious blueberries with a sweet and tart flavor from the farmer's market, farm stand or supermarket.

    Before storing fresh berries, remove crushed, unripe or moldy fruit, and stems and leaves. Wash the berries just before you serve them.

    You can eat delicious blueberries as a snack or dessert anytime.

    Toss a handful of blueberries on your favorite foods, like cereal or granola, hot oatmeal, smoothies and yogurt.

    Frozen blueberries are a great way to enjoy berries all year round. The study on memory improvement from the University of Cincinnati used juice made from frozen wild blueberries, which indicates that frozen blueberries also have nutritional potency.

    Enjoying blueberries is a great way to boost consumption of fruit and vegetables to nine to 10 servings per day. That is the amount of fruit and vegetables I recommend in my healthy weight loss program. My son Jonathan Galland wrote this blueberry recipe for my book, The Fat Resistance Diet, an anti-inflammatory program.

    Blueberry cinnamon bowl

    An update on a morning tradition, here is a quick and easy hot breakfast. The aroma of blueberries and cinnamon rising from the bowl makes this a special treat. Oatmeal is a great source of cholesterol lowering fiber and cinnamon reduces insulin levels.

    1/2 Cup rolled oats
    1/2 Cup fresh or frozen blueberries
    1 Tablespoon freshly ground flaxseeds
    1/2 Tablespoon ground walnuts
    Dash of cinnamon

    Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan, then stir in the oats. Cook for 4 minutes, then add the blueberries and cook until piping hot. Mix in the flaxseeds, walnuts, and cinnamon. Serves 1.

    I hope you enjoy the healthy pleasure of blueberries now and throughout the year.

    Source

    Wednesday
    Mar122014

    Experts say Florida’s blueberry production may reach 25 million pounds 

    Twenty years ago, there was virtually no commercial production of blueberries in the state of Florida, except for U-pick farms and berries grown for local markets. This year, some experts said Florida’s blueberry production may reach 25 million pounds, putting the state in the ranks of other leading producers like North Carolina, Georgia, California and Oregon.

    Michigan and New Jersey still lead the way in domestic production with more than 50 million pounds each, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but Florida’s totals are growing every year, a trend that seems sure to continue for the foreseeable future.

    Florida produced 21.5 million pounds of blueberries in 2013, up 14 percent over 2012, according to Bill Braswell, a state industry leader, farm manager for Clear Springs Packing LLC in Bartow, FL, and the owner of Polkdale Farms and Juliana Plantation in Auburndale, FL.

    Braswell said harvest will begin in mid-to-late March in South and Central Florida with North Florida kicking off in mid-April. The crop is in good condition and Braswell expects volumes to peak during the second and third weeks of April, just ahead of the Georgia deal coming on at the end of that month.

    Blueberry production has exploded in Florida in recent years due to new Southern highbush cultivars from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences that need fewer chill hours and bear more fruit. Consumer demand has continued to increase as well. And Florida growers bring the first fresh blueberries of the calendar year to the U.S. market, with a six-week window of market exclusivity between the end of Chilean imports and the beginning of domestic seasons in Georgia and the Carolinas.

    Barely established, that exclusive window is already under attack, with Chilean imports stretching later and Georgia and Carolina seemingly starting earlier each year, Florida growers said.

    Even though the Chileans are “squashing us from one direction” and “we’re butting heads more with our late competitors California and Georgia, we still have our own niche,” said Ken Patterson of Island Grove Ag Products in Hawthorne, FL, who was instrumental in the founding of the Florida industry.

    As the Florida deal grows, its nature is changing. While the industry was once a collection of individual visionaries, success has brought competition. Many of the growers who first forayed into Florida blueberry production have fallen by the wayside as major players have seen opportunity in the state.

    In the 1990s, several enterprising Florida growers launched commercial blueberry operations, almost all of them in a five-county area around Ocala. “There were a lot of players, but out of all those, only one of them survived that I know of, the rest all went by the wayside, mainly because of inferior varieties,” said Patterson, who served six years as the Southeastern rep on the National Blueberry Council and remains on the board.

    “There’s a lot of new blueberry acreage going in in Florida,” said Patterson.  “Since I sell plants, I kind of am in tune with that. People used to be putting in five and 10 acres, now it’s 40 and 60. Citrus people are putting it in, strawberry people are putting it in. The health benefits propelled us in a huge way in the last 10 years — it’s been phenomenal and there’s a lot more coming.”

    When the Florida Blueberry Growers Association held its first meeting a few years ago, “there were about 25 of us there and we all knew each other by name.” This year’s meeting in early March drew hundreds of attendees. “I don’t know anybody any more,” Patterson joked. “I feel like an old-timer.”

    source

    Friday
    Mar072014

    Blueberries hailed as best brain food

    A new study has found that blueberries may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's disease.

    Around 10,000 Kiwi's suffer from Parkinson's disease and it's estimated that 1% of all Kiwis over the age of 60 have the incurable condition.

    Now a study conducted by scientists at the Plants For Human Health Institute in the US has found that some fruits contain one of two chemical compounds that can help to reduce the risk of degenerative brain conditions such as Parkinson's.

    Blueberries, however, are a unique 'brain food' as they contain both substances and are therefore the most effective at fighting brain cell death that can lead to Parkinson's and other brain diseases.

    Earlier studies have shown that eating several servings of blueberries each week can increase concentration and slow mental deterioration.

    Source