July Celebrates Blueberries – Nature’s Little Dynamos

July is National Blueberry Month.
 
In the heat of the summer, a cool fruit will be celebrated for its versatility as a food on its own and as an inclusion in a large assortment of foods. July is National Blueberry Month, and the popular summer delight will no doubt be touted by retail bakeries across the country.

Blueberries make a great inclusion in baked goods, ranging from delicious blueberry pies to grab-and-go items like dessert bars. These powerful little fruits keep pastries moist, add unique flavor, and provide numerous health benefits.

Blueberries are nutritionally dense, contain 14 g. carbohydrate/100g., are low in calories and virtually fat-free, contain no cholesterol, are a source of fiber, and contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Additionally, blueberries add vivid color and pizzazz to treats. With an unmistakable look, the fruit's natural blue pigment provides an identifiable way for customers to spot real blueberry-containing products. 

Image courtesy of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
 
According to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, the first commercial crop of blueberries made it from farm to table here in the United State more than 100 years ago. Ever since then, Americans have continued to find innovative ways to include them in our foods. In 1974, July was proclaimed as National Blueberry Month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In the 2000s, their health benefits started to rack up, as the scientific community identified them as rock stars in the health community for their antioxidant activity.

In fact, blueberries provided benefits to a slew of products, not just food-related. Thousands of items, including dog food and cosmetics, use them.

We appreciate them most for their contributions to the baking community. Blueberries brighten gluten-free , harmonize with ancient grains, and work well in everything from savory to sweet. Plump, delicious cultivated blueberries make appealing, mouthwatering pie fillings, which comes especially handy during the heart of the summer. Special summer events such as the Fourth of July, Labor Day, birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings will find blueberry pies and other blueberry desserts on the dessert table.

They are even great in trendy flavor pairings that are unusual and inspiring. Instead of making a pie simply sweet, bakers can combine blueberries with caramelized garlic, thyme, wasabi, salted pistachio, or hot pepper accents for something more savory. Blueberries can also make the sweet even sweeter, complementing such flavors as maple, orange blossom honey, light molasses, balsamic, and ginger.

With fruity, burst-in-the-mouth flavor and healthy profile, blueberries give products lush taste and broad appeal – a consideration that definitely makes them worthy of celebration during the month of July.