Get ready for Michigan blueberries
Growers believe blueberries will be ready for picking around July 4, or a week after for northern Michigan.
Michigan leads the nation in blueberry production, producing 32 percent of the blueberries consumed in the United States. Michigan-grown blueberries are available from July through late September. The western counties of Michigan (Allegan, Berrien, Muskegon, Ottawa and Van Buren) are the largest producers of blueberries in the state. Early varieties of blueberries should be available in Lower Peninsula farmers markets around July 4. It may be up to a week longer for later varieties and northern locations.
As one of the few fruits native to North America, blueberries taste great and are packed full of nutrients. If you ranked all the fruits from the healthiest to the fruit with the lowest nutritional value, blueberries would be at the top of the list.
The beautiful blue color of the blueberry is actually a plant chemical called anthocyanin. Beside their attractive blue color and sweet flavor, blueberries are low in fat, sodium free and a good source of fiber and vitamin C. A one-cup serving of blueberries will give you five grams of fiber, 15 percent of your daily vitamin C and is only 80 calories.
Michigan State University Extension recommends that you choose blueberries that are plump, unwrinkled, blue in color and nearly free of leaves and stems. To enjoy fresh, store blueberries in the refrigerator, wash thoroughly before using or eating and use within a week.
According to MyPlate, one-quarter of your meal plate should be fruit. Here are some suggestions by Michigan State University Extension Nutrition Educators for adding blueberries to your meals:
- Blueberry smoothies
- Blueberries in pancake or waffle batter
- Top hot or cold cereal or yogurt with blueberries
- Mix blueberries with other summer fruits such as melon or peaches
Lunch or Dinner:
- Blueberries added to salads
- Blueberries can be cooked into a sauce and served over meats such as poultry or pork
- Add to mixed fruit cups
- Serve blueberry crisp or a fresh blueberry pie as dessert or as a topping for ice cream
For more information on storing and preserving blueberries check out the Michigan Fresh Blueberry Fact Sheet.
- USDA Blueberry Recipes and Lesson Plans for School Teachers
- Blueberry Resource Page for Food Service Professionals
- Blueberry Nutrition Facts from Penn State University
- To find a farm with U-pick blueberries near you, conduct a search on Michigan Market Maker
- Michigan Blueberry Growers Association
- Frozen Blueberry Recipes
- National Blueberry Festival in South Haven, Michigan
- Michigan State University Extension’s Blueberry Production Web Site