Since blueberries are a year-round fixture on supermarket shelves, it may not be obvious that they are at their seasonal best right now. Through winter we've been sold expensive, jetlagged blueberries from the southern hemisphere. Sometimes they do have that marvellous pop-in-the-mouth quality, but more often they are a mushy let-down. In early summer, the more reliable Polish, Spanish and French crop appears. But this month the English blueberry season really hits its stride, offering field-fresh, firm-skinned fruits that can beat all foreign competition with their winning sweet-sharp balance. Weather allowing, the UK season continues until the end of September, even into early October.
Why are blueberries good for me? Blueberries are a rich source of anthocyanins, flavonoids and phenols, such as chlorogenic acid, quercetin, lutein and kaempferol. These are anti-inflammatories and antioxidants which strengthen the body's defences against free radicals. So eating blueberries could help protect against cancer, heart disease and age-related degenerative diseases. Their store of vitamin C also boosts the immune system.