Blueberries please my taste buds and brighten my mood, while infusing me with beneficial antioxidants. Yes, blueberries – those tasty, dark-blue, little spheres – are tiny super fruits. They're super delicious and super healthful.
Long before I knew about the health powers of blueberries, I loved them. Blueberry pie and chocolate cream pie were always my favorite pies, ever since I was a kid.
The other day, my friend Hilary posted on Facebook a photo of four pies she'd just made. One was blueberry. I wanted to reach into that photo and grab that pie. I, of course, could not do that, so then I wanted to fly to Los Angeles, drive to Altadena, bolt inside Hilary's house and slice into that disc of scrumptious crust and gooey blueberry filling. I know it was scrumptious and gooey and good, because I know Hilary would bake nothing less wonderful than that.
But, alas, I was regretfully stuck in Lebanon, Ill., so I did the next best thing. I plated an Otis Spunkmeyer wild-blueberry muffin, piled on some fresh blueberries, poured on some Smucker's bluberry syrup, and plopped a dollop of left-over Thanksgiving whipped cream on the top. My blueberry wig-out was averted. I was temporarily content.
You can find, at all times, blueberry products in my refrigerator and pantry and bread basket. The fresh blueberries that I buy at the market usually come from California. You can pick your own blueberries at some Southern California berry farms, but you pretty much have to be in Southern California in order to do that.
Here in southern Illinois and the southern half of Missouri – in the rural areas of the St. Louis region, for example – one can find wild blueberries, when they're in season. Blue Ridge blueberries grow near trails and clearings and on ridges and hilltops that get sunlight. My dad and I were wild-berry pickers back when I was young and oblivious of the healthful antioxidents and nutrients that accompanied those berry-good flavors.
Now I use those health benefits as excuses for eating anything blueberry, even if it contains high fructose corn syrup and a pound of butter and a cup of sugar. Here's me: Oh, look, it has blueberries and natural pure cane sugar, and that butter can be my dairy today.
A study conducted by Ronald L. Prior, PhD, at the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture put blueberries at the top of the list of most antioxidant-rich edibles. Blueberries beat out cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, Red Delicious apples, red kidney beans, pecans, pinto beans and 10 more beneficial products, including green tea.
Maybe today, I'll have just plain, fresh blueberries topped with a little low-fat, blueberry yogurt. I'm trying to improve my diet and exercise regimen now, rather than make it a silly New Year's resolution.
I never found my thrill on Blueberry Hill, but give me a bowl of blueberries, and I won't be blue.