32693969 - blueberries

New Zealand’s main supply of fresh blueberries for the season are arriving on supermarket shelves and Kiwis are being encouraged to try some creative culinary combinations.

Dan Peach, Chairman of NZ Blueberries, said this ultra-healthy snack can be enjoyed straight from the punnet at any time of day. But adding them to pizza, salads and meat dishes for an extra burst of colour and flavour is also right on trend.

“People’s idea of what a salad is has changed quite a lot in recent years. It’s common now to add different fruits and nuts for taste and texture, and blueberries are an ideal fruit to include because they’re super healthy as well as delicious.

“Pizza is another popular combination that people can adapt – take a tasty chicken pizza, add a handful of fresh blueberries and you’ll pack some extra antioxidants into your day. Blueberries are a pretty versatile fruit and you can use them in so many ways.”

Blueberries contain higher antioxidant levels than almost any other fruit or vegetable.

They’ve been proven to enhance weight loss, boost your brain and bowel function, promote good eyesight and help keep your cholesterol under control.

New Zealand’s main commercial crops of blueberries are grown in the Waikato, Hawkes Bay, the Far North and Bay of Plenty. This season runs from the beginning of December through until March and the summer is forecast to be a bumper harvest.

“Available volumes will definitely be up on last year and the season looks like it will start a few days earlier too so there will be more fruit available in that pre-Christmas window which is great news,” Peach said.

“It was a difficult spring because it was quite wet and cold but recently temperatures have been a lot warmer. There are more sunshine hours forecast over the next two or three weeks and that extra sunshine will bring the berries on nicely.”

In addition to enjoying blueberries in salads and as a pizza topping this summer, they are an ideal addition to lunchboxes, smoothies, kids’ snack platters and home baking.