Blueberries Really Are a Superfood—Here's What Makes Them So Good for You (and How to Use and Store Them)

These summer berries top every superfruit list, and for good reason.

Equal parts juicy and sweet, blueberries are one of the most popular fruits in the produce aisle. They're also deliciously versatile and can be easily incorporated into baked goods, drinks, and savory dishes, just to name a few. What's more, blueberries have been touted as a superfood for years, thanks to their impressive list of health benefits. 

To better understand what makes blueberries so good for you, we checked in with nutrition and cooking experts. Here, they share everything you need to know about blueberries—including their biggest health benefits, storage tips, and best applications in the kitchen

What Are Blueberries?

Native to North America, blueberries are small, round fruits that grow on bushes. They're related to many other berries, including cranberries, lingonberries, and bilberries, according to a recent article published in Molecule.

In North America, there are three main blueberry varieties, which are categorized by region: Highbush in the Midwest, Rabbiteye in the Southeast, and Lowbush in Maine and Nova Scotia. They're in season between June and September, making them a beloved summer staple. 

Blueberries in wooden bowl

Nutrition and Health Benefits

Blueberries have been dubbed superfoods and superfruits by several studies, and it's no wonder why.


The juicy spheres are some of the best sources of antioxidants—beneficial compounds that fight free radicals—says Amy Moyer, M.Ed, RDN, LDN, CCMS, a registered dietitian and assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In case you need a refresher: Free radicals are harmful molecules that damage DNA and cells. Some are naturally produced by internal bodily processes, while others come from environmental factors like air pollution and tobacco smoke, says Moyer. If free radicals accumulate in the body, it can cause oxidative stress, a major contributor of chronic conditions like cancer and heart disease. However, antioxidants (like those found in blueberries) can fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, paving the way for improved health. 

Specifically, blueberries are known for their sky-high content of anthocyanins, an antioxidant plant pigment that gives some fruits and vegetables their iconic purple-blue hue. Anthocyanins are especially noteworthy due to their neuroprotective benefits, including improved motor and cognitive function, explains Moyer. Blueberries also contain antioxidants like polyphenols, vitamin C, quercetin, and tannins, resulting in a rich cocktail of beneficial nutrients. 


Additionally, the bite-sized berries are a good source of fiber, offering approximately 3.6 grams per one cup serving, says Moyer. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber; soluble fiber absorbs water in the gut, while insoluble fiber does not. Soluble fiber (which dissolves in water) can help lower high cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease, while insoluble fiber (which doesn't dissolve in water) can help alleviate constipation or irregular bowel movements, notes Moyer. Needless to say, for such a small fruit, the impressive blueberry certainly deserves its reputation as a superfood. 

Shopping for Blueberries

If you're ready to add blueberries to your weekly menu, there are several things to consider when you shop for them. In addition to buying in season, look for berries with smooth, plump, and firm skin, which indicate high quality, says Michelle Hall, chef instructor at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. "If you're buying blueberries in a clamshell, make sure all of them are firm,” she adds.

Even if a single berry is moldy, leaky, or shriveled, this could mean the berries are not fresh or juicy at all, says Hall. While you're at it, choose blueberries with dark purple or deep blue hues, which represent optimal ripeness, she adds.

How to Wash and Store Blueberries

At home, avoid washing blueberries until you're ready to eat them, as moisture shortens their shelf-life, says Hall. Store them on a mid-level shelf of the refrigerator, rather than the top shelf (which is too cold) or the crisper drawer (which can make them moldy), she adds. When stored properly, blueberries should last between 10 days and two weeks, according to experts at Purdue University


  1. Add blueberries to a bowl of cold water and use a strainer to remove the stems.
  2. Transfer the blueberries to a sheet tray lined with paper towels. Gently dry the tops with additional paper towels. You can also roll around the berries to dry them on all sides.


For long-term storage, you can freeze blueberries. Here's how, according to Hall:

  1. Place the washed blueberries on a parchment-lined baking sheet, making sure there's space between each one. (This will ensure that they'll freeze without getting stuck together.) Put the baking sheet in the freezer for about three hours, or until the berries are frozen. 
  2. Once frozen, transfer the blueberries to a resealable plastic or silicone bag. Wrap the bag in plastic wrap (or put it in a second bigger bag) to reduce the risk of freezer burn. 

Use frozen blueberries within six to eight months for best results.

How to Use Blueberries

When it comes to eating blueberries, the sky's the limit. They instantly upgrade basic preparations, including parfait, smoothies, cereal, and oatmeal, but have a myriad of other uses, too.

Baking With Blueberries

If you'd like to use the fruit in baked goods (think cake or muffins), take a tip from Hall and toss frozen blueberries in a tablespoon of all-purpose flour (subtracted from your recipe) before adding them to the batter as the last step. "This prevents them from bursting and adds extra moisture while they bake. You'll also have a cleaner-looking, more evenly-cooked batter," explains Hall.

Savory Dishes

Try incorporating blueberries into a barbecue sauce. As Stephanie White, chef instructor at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, explains, the sweet-tart flavor of blueberries will complement the condiment. You can also add fresh blueberries to salads as a juicy topper or smoked blueberry compote with lox and baguette as an appetizer, suggests Hall. 


In the drinks department, blueberries are excellent for freezing into ice cubes, infusing into water or tea, or boiling down into a simple syrup, says Hall.

Complementary Flavors

If you want to add blueberries to your own recipes, keep in mind that the fruit is sweet with a hint of acidity and earthiness. This flavor profile works well with warm ingredients like vanilla, cinnamon, and star anise, according to White. It can also balance more pungent ingredients like ginger, balsamic vinegar, and citrus fruits, including lemon and orange, explains White.

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