Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Great Garnish

Fresh blueberries are everywhere right now - bring home a pint from the store, and kept in the refrigerator, they'll be OK for about 10 days (if the snackers don't get them first...)

Having salmon for dinner? Garnish your plates with some sliced cantelope and a handful of blueberries. Or the same fruit would look tasty (and brighten up the plate) beside a slice of quiche. Many grocery stores sell cut halves of melons in the produce department or the deli so you don't have to buy a whole one.

Toss a few on a bowl of ice cream and top it with some raspberry pancake syrup. Yum!

Here are a few hints on "Selection & Storage" from (of all places)The Cooperative Extension Service for Sarasota County, Florida.

  • Look for fresh blueberries that are firm, dry and plump, smooth skinned and relatively free from stems and leaves. Size is not an indicator of maturity, but color is. Berries should be deep purple -blue to blue-black. Reddish berries aren't ripe but may be used in cooking.

  • Stay away from containers with juice stains which may be a sign that the berries are crushed and possibly moldy. Soft watery fruit means the berries are overripe. Dehydrated, wrinkled fruit means the berries have been stored too long. Handle your blueberries with care, touching them as little as possible.

  • Fresh berries should be refrigerated immediately, covered and washed just before using. Use within 10 days of purchase. To freeze blueberries, transfer to an airtight container and do not wash before freezing. Properly stored, frozen blueberries will last a year.

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