Approximately 50% of Mississippi blueberries are sold wholesale through marketing cooperatives. The remaining blueberries are sold on a pick-your-own basis or sold independently through farmers markets, small stores, etc. There are approximately 2700 acres in blueberry production in Mississippi with the majority of blueberry acreage in the Southern half of the state. Fresh blueberries are available in the market place from May through September with June and July being the peak harvest season.
Blueberries rank above all the berries are an excellent source of antioxidants, fiber, magnesium, iron, folate, potassium, and Vitamins A, C & E. Recent medical studies have found that blueberries can help prevent and even reverse serious diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and strokes. Blueberries can lower cholesterol levels better than statin drugs – without the negative side effects.
Blueberries can increase night vision and prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. They prevent diarrhea, constipation and urinary tract infections. They slow down the aging process of the brain, keeping it sharp and preventing Alzheimer's and dementia. Research has shown that blueberries slow down the aging process of the skin. They protect skin cells from damage and disintegration, making blueberry consumers look younger longer.
Blueberries can be enjoyed daily fresh or frozen to enjoy year round. For best results when freezing, do not wash the berries. Freeze them dry in plastic freezer containers. Blueberries will freeze individually and will be easy to use in recipes. Wash them right before using them in your favorite recipes.
For more information about Mississippi dairy go to www.growingmississippi.org or follow Farm Families of Mississippi on Facebook.
Refrigerator Blueberry Muffins
Recipe Source: Nancy Freeman's Friend, Mary Jo Campbell Carson
1 1/2 cups blueberries
2 cups oatbran flour (recipe follows)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
1 cup Splenda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup fat free milk
The night before: Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Beat applesauce, Splenda, vanilla, and eggs at high speed for 4 minutes until light and fluffy. On low speed, add flour mixture and milk alternately. Beat until smooth. Gently fold in blueberries. Spray muffin tin with butter flavored cooking spray. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Next day: Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.
Oatbran Flour Recipe
42 ounce container old fashioned oats
5 cups whole wheat flour
Process oats in small batches in food processor until flour consistency. Add whole wheat flour. Mix thoroughly. I store this in the freezer to have fresh when I am ready to bake.
1 cup water
2 cups white sugar
2 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
7 cups cold water
2 cups ice
¾ c. blueberries
Boil one cup of water with the sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the liquid becomes clear. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Pour 7 cups of cold water and ice into a serving pitcher. Add the lemon syrup and blueberries; stir until you get a "purple-ish" color.
Information prepared by Nancy Freeman, Consultant, firstname.lastname@example.org