Blueberry is the common name for flowering plants. A vibrant and delicious blueberry is a member of the berry family having small, round, dark blue, or purple in color. It is juicy in nature with deep red flesh inside and is mildly sweet in taste when it is ripe, while the unripe one is a bit sour. It uses as a healthy snack as it has various medicinal properties. Fresh blueberries are available from April to September.
Well, berries remind us of the smell of pies, muffins, pancakes, deserts, and other baked goods coming out of the oven. But now, we are talking about sweet and sour blueberry. So, before we jump into the uses and benefits, let’s see in detail about it.
Where do Blueberries come from?
They are perennial flowering plants native to North America, particularly Atlantic Canada and the Northeastern United States that are grown on bushes. They were cultivated in the early 1900s by two strangers. Frederick Coville and Elizabeth White worked together to breed and developed commercial blueberries. By 1960, they found the perfect variety and quality of fresh blueberry.
Where do Blueberries grow best?
For blueberry farming, highly acidic, moist, fertile, and well-drained soil is required. The pH range of soil must be between 4.0 to 5.5 for best growth and yield. In the first 2 to 3 years, plants won’t have many fruits. Harvest is bigger after 5 years as plants grow too slowly, which takes almost 8 to 10 years to reach full size.
Types of Blueberries:
There are mainly four types:
- Highbush: The shrub grows to 6 to12 feet tall that found in wooded areas or open areas with moist acidic soil. The size of the fruit is 6.4 to 12.7 mm in diameter with blue-black in color.
- Lowbush: The shrub grows to 5 to 60 cm tall that found in wooded areas, old farmyards, or open areas with well-drained acidic soil.
- Hybrid half-high: Hybrid half-high is the greatest attribute of lowbush and highbush. The shrub grows from 3 to 4 feet tall.
- Rabbiteye: The shrub grows to 3 to 6 feet tall. The size of the fruit is 5 mm in diameter with dark blue or black in color.
Nutritional Value of Blueberries:
It contains dietary fiber that helps in the smooth functioning of the digestive system. It also contains various vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, and antioxidants.
Half a cup (means approx. 80 gm) of blueberries contains 42 calories, 1 gm protein, 7 gm sugar, less than 1 gm fat, 11 gm carbohydrates, and 2 gm fiber.
Wild Blueberry Vs Blueberry: Difference
- Wild blueberries have small shrubs that grow no longer than 2 feet. Whereas, regular blueberries are cultivated that include tall shrubs that can grow up to 8 feet.
- Wild blueberries are not planted as they can grow wherever nature intended them to grow, which grows in cold climates of the U.S. Whereas, regular ones are planted in farms, which grows in the northern and southern part of the U.S.
- Wild blueberry is much smaller in size, sweeter, and tangy in flavor compared to regular blueberry.
- Wild blueberry contains 30% less sugar, 2x fiber, 8x manganese, and more nutritional value than the regular one.
Benefits associated with Blueberries:
Blueberries are known as the king of antioxidant fruits. They are often labeled as superfoods, as they are rich in nutrients, low on calories, convenient, and good for health. Furthermore, blueberries can be eaten fresh or incorporated into a variety of recipes, as they are sweet and impart a beautiful purple-blue hue to the food. They can also be purchased frozen.
Various benefits associated with blueberries include protection against cancer and heart diseases, helping maintain mental health, maintaining blood pressure, and improving bone strength. Blueberries have antioxidants such as anthocyanin, which helps in keeping memory sharp with age and of anti-cancer properties. Blueberries are a good source of fiber, which is essential for a healthy digestive system.
Blueberries comprise a plant compound known as anthocyanin, which gives blueberries their color and several other health benefits. One cup of blueberries gives 24% of a person’s daily recommended allowance of vitamin C.
Which country produces the most Blueberries?
The Europe, India, and Middle East & Africa (MEA) Fresh Blueberry market was valued at USD 1,075.7 Million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 1,693.5 Million by 2027, expanding at a CAGR of 7.1% during the forecast period 2019-2027.
The United States is the world’s largest producer which produces over half of the global production. Production happens in 10 states including California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North California, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.
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Unknown facts about Blueberries:
- It helps to reduce belly fat.
- It is also considered a star fruit to the presence of the star-shaped on the tip of the berry.
- It can be frozen in only four minutes.
- It is gluten-free.
- Despite benefits, it may be harmful to allergic individuals due to high salicylate content.
Blueberry serves as a major useful ingredient in many recipes as it can be paired with various ingredients to create different flavors. Adding it to our daily meals as a salad or smoothie is the best way to gain more nutrition. It is available in a frozen form that is increasingly adopted by consumers owing to its superior advantages as it helps in maintaining health by reducing the risk of chronic disease and improves skin beauty by preventing wrinkles.