Freezing Boosts the Nutrition of Wild Blueberries
March is National Frozen Food Month making it the perfect month to celebrate frozen Wild Blueberries. Recent research shows that frozen berries offer more health-helping antioxidants than fresh blueberries. And in case you didn’t know, 99% of the Wild Blueberry crop is frozen 24 hours after harvest, locking in taste and nutrition.
The South Dakota State University study reveals that freezing blueberries increases their concentration of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant. During the freezing process, ice crystals disrupt the structure of blueberries, making the anthocyanins more available to the body.
And why are anthocyanins important? Anthocyanins are naturally occurring plant compounds that give Wild Blueberries (and other fruits like Concord grapes, black raspberries, and strawberries) their deep rich hues and powerful antioxidant capacity. Wild Blueberries have twice the antioxidant capacity as regular blueberries. Although scientists still aren’t sure how or why anthocyanins prevent disease, it has been linked to their antioxidant properties. Two decades of research have suggested that anthocyanins may play important roles in helping reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), cognitive decline, and cancer.
Below are four more reasons to celebrate Wild Blueberries during National Frozen Food Month:
- They are wild plants and only grow in Maine and Eastern Canada, and because they are frozen, are widely available and accessible to consumers.
- They’re delicious. In every Wild Blueberry field, there may be thousands of different plant varieties and that diversity creates a blend of complex flavors – from tangy tartness to succulent sweetness – and provides a more intense blueberry flavor.
- Scientific research over the last two decades has found that Wild Blueberries may help lower the risk of heart disease and cancer, have positive impacts on memory, mood and cognitive function in children and older adults, and potentially help prevent the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s.
- One serving of frozen Wild Blueberries (1 cup) has just 80 calories, 6 grams of fiber (72% more than regular blueberries, 4 milligrams of manganese (8 times more than regular blueberries).
Frozen Wild Blueberries are easy to use in a variety of ways: sprinkle them on oatmeal or cereal, mix them in yogurt, in salad dressings, signature cocktails, BBQ sauces, add them to desserts and of course, include them in your smoothies! We’ve got hundreds of recipes available on our website that are ready to help you go WILD!