We have been enjoying lots of pick your own Pungo blueberries this month. Pungo is a rural community located just south of Sandbridge Beach where there are miles and miles of beautiful farmland. Pungo Blueberries are delicious for snacking, with yogurt, cereal, and in pancakes with, of course, our Graves Mountain Preserves. There are many other ways to enjoy them, in pies, cakes, muffins.... If you are around Virginia Beach mid July to Aug. don’t skip picking your own blueberries at Pungo Blueberries.
Blueberries especially thrive in New Jersey, Oregon, North Carolina, Washington, California, Florida and Michigan, but Maine is the largest producer of blueberries in the world. Virginia is not famous for growing blueberries, but Pungo blueberries are pretty darn good and there is nothing like eating blueberries that you picked yourself.
Blueberry Picking Tips
Look for blueberries that are firm, plump and blemish free.
Berries, unlike other fruits, do not ripen once picked, so pick them at their peak ripeness.
The size of a berry does not indicate the sweetness or ripeness, but the color does.
Berries with a reddish color aren’t ripe and will be tart, but can be used in cooking. Purple or royal blue berries are ripe blueberries. Some varieties take on a frosted look.
Store freshly picked blueberries covered in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Wash and dry before using.
Blueberries freeze well. Rinse and dry the berries before freezing in a plastic resealable freezer bag or container. Frozen blueberries can be kept up to one year.
Benefits of Blueberries
Recently, blueberries have been identified as a "superfood" in the United States, which is a food that provides extreme benefits when eaten. Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants. Blueberries contain large amounts of phytochemicals, such as polyphenols that trigger antioxidant activity that may help to prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease. They're also low in calories and add Vitamin C, Vitamin E and fiber to your daily diet.