Blueberries are perennial flowering plants with blue or purple colored berries.
All about blueberries
Blueberries are native of North America, and grow usually in prostrate shrubs, both the wild (‘low bush’) and cultivated (‘high bush’) varieties.
The high bush varieties were introduced into Europe in the 1930’s.
The blueberries are classified in the section Cyanococcus, within the genus Vaccinium.
Vaccinium also includes cranberries, bilberries,huckleberries and Madeira blueberries.
They grow as prostrate shrubs usually.The leaves are either deciduous or evergreen, their flowers are bell shaped white ,pink or red.The fruit is a berry usually5-15mm in a diameter, with a flared crown at the end.They are pale greenish at first, then reddish purple & finally dark purple when ripe.They are covered in a protective coating of powdery epicuticular wax, colloquially known as the “bloom”.
They are sweet to taste when mature, with variable acidity that gives them the tartness.
They typically bear fruit in the middle of the growing season. Peak of the crop, in the northern hemisphere, can vary from May to August ( also influenced by local conditions like altitude & latitude)
How to pick/choose blueberries
- If growing in your garden, best time to pick is early in the morning when they are in the peak sweetness ,before heat builds up in the fruit.
- Let your berries ripen on the bush. It is not a good idea to pick berries early.Reddish blueberries aren’t ripe, and won’t ripen once they are picked but you can use them in cooking.
- Once picked, don’t place the berries, still warm from the sun, in a closed bag or container.
- Don’t wash berries until just before using, to prevent berries from becoming mushy.
- Chill berries soon after picking to increase shelf life.
- Freeze berries in freezer containers without washing to keep the skins from toughening.
- Size isn’t an indicator of maturity but color is – berries should be deep purple-blue to blue-black.
- Avoid blueberries that look soft or shriveled or have any signs of mold.
How to store blueberries
- Sort the moldy blueberries from the fresh ones.
- To avoid bitterness in taste, pull off any remaining stems.
- Do not wash berries until you are ready to eat them.When you are ready, consider rinsing the blueberries with one part vinegar and three parts water to kill any existing mold spores.
How to prepare recipes with blueberries
When it comes to enjoying blueberries, they are super versatile. They’re delicious fresh or frozen. One can consume them in :
Health benefits of Blueberries
These little blueberries pack a mighty punch, so do not be fooled by the size. They are listed among the superfoods for a reason. They have innumerable health benefits.
- They are filled with antioxidants that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
- They are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and fiber.
- They contain large amounts of phytochemicals (anthocyanins) which give the berries their color.These anthocyanins are supposed to play a major role in inhibiting tumor growth and reducing inflammation.
- Since they are free of sodium, these berries help lower blood pressure.
- The antioxidants in blueberries are strongly linked to reduced levels of oxidized LDL, thus making them heart healthy.
- Blueberries help maintain brain function and improve memory.
- They are rich in Vitamin C, B6 and folate.
- The anthocyanins in the blueberries help manage diabetes .
- They help prevent Urinary tract infections due to their anti adhesive property which prevent bacteria like E. coli from binding to the wall of our bladder.
- They help in reducing muscle damage caused by strenuous exercise(which is usually caused by local inflammation and reduced muscle performance)
Links to our berry recipes
Some of the links to my published posts on berries are listed below for your interest :
- Blueberry Banana Chia Smoothie
- Blueberries| How to pick, store and use them
- Eggless Blueberry Muffins
- Cranberry Rasam/Soup
- Cranberry Relish/Spicy Thokku
- Raspberry Avocado Chocolate Cake
- Strawberries | How to choose, store and use them
- Strawberry Mint Smoothie
- Strawberry Nutella Thumbprint Cookies
- Strawberry cupcakes
- Strawberry Glazed Mini-Donuts
- Strawberry Coconut Rava Laddoos
The Bottom Line
If you love recipes with blueberries, then there are so many ways to use them in blueberry pies, cobblers, cookies, jams, muffins, salads, main dishes and many more fresh summer favorites.
Share with us in the comments below how you used them in your recipes! We would love to hear it!
I love blueberries but I didnt know half the information you told us here. Thanks.
Thank you.It is such a joy and encouragement when our readers let us know how helpful and informative our blog post was for them> It makes all the effort & time taken worth it. So appreciate your kind words. Glad we could be of help. Do sign up to become our blog subscriber, so you will never miss out on any of blogposts. Here is our link to sign up :https://stirringmyspicysoul.ck.page/2b3a1772b6
Blueberries are my favorite berry! I typically have some in the freezer of the fridge.
Yes.Always a handy berry to have, fresh or frozen. So many ways to eat them….pop them fresh into your mouth directly, or add them in your recipes. They taste just as delicious. Enjoy, the blueberry season, trying out our recipes!
Blueberries are my favorites! We’ve tried growing them in the backyard but have had such a hard time with them. I’m hoping that as the bushes continue to mature, they’ll become a little easier to manage.
Here in the midwest, we take a trip to the local farms during the blueberry season and make it a fun summer activity for the family, to go blueberry picking.Bring them home in baskets and have fun creating recipes with them. Haven’t grown them myself yet.Here’s wishing you great success with your blueberry bushes in your garden. May you enjoy reaping mature healthy blueberries soon, so you can have lots to go, either fresh or to add them in interesting blueberry recipes. Enjoy!
This reminded me of my favorite PNW summer activity of picking blueberries at the U-pick farms. I have never thought of putting them on pizza!!
How wonderful! Yes, the berry picking season will soon be here.Enjoy!
Every July, we go blueberry picking here in NJ (it’s our state fruit). Love eating them right off the bushes!
Learnt something new today. Did not know it was the state fruit. Thank you, for sharing.Totally agree on the taste of freshly picked blueberries.
Blueberries are one of my favs!
Thank you. A favorite at our home too.
Perfect timing. It is blueberry season here in Florida. I just picked my first batch last week.
How fun! Glad to hear that our blogpost arrived right on time & is helpful! Thank you, for sharing.
Excellent! I’ve always wanted to grow blueberries but had no idea how to tell when they were ready lol
Thank you.It is so encouraging to learn from our readers that our blogpost was informative & helpful to them. So appreciate you sharing it.
One of my favorites! Love these in smoothies and pancakes.
Thank you. Yes, we have started with the blueberry smoothies already. Check out our link here, with blueberry, bananas & chia seeds, a perfect health drink after a good workout or even as a grab & go breakfast. https://stirringmyspicysoul.com/blueberry-banana-chia-smoothie/
Fresh Blueberries, nothing like that pop of juicy in your mouth! So great!
I love blueberries! I know berries are in general good for you, but it was neat to read all of the health benefits since I eat them so much anyway. Thanks for the storage tips too!
Thank you, for your kind words.It is so encouraging to hear from our readers that our blogpost helped them and was informative.So appreciate your sharing. Please feel free to share with friends and family who you think might benefit from this post and help us get the word around about our blog.
Great tips! I have never had any luck working with fresh blueberries!
Thank you. Hope our useful tips will help you moving forward. Good luck!
I love blueberries! The best ones I’ve ever had were fresh off the bush in Alaska.
How fun.Blueberry picking is something we look forward to during the season.Totally agree with you on the freshness when picked right off the bush.
Blueberries are a favourite in my house! W use them for muffins, pancakes, smoothies and more!
Yes, here too. Have already planned some new recipes to try with them this season. Make the best of the berry season. Enjoy!
I love blueberries. I eat them every day. So glad to learn that they are free of sodium because I have high blood pressure. The bonus I learned is they help with diabetes as well. I knew they were good for you but now I know how important they are to my health. Thanks for sharing.
Blueberries are packed with health benefits. So glad to know our blogpost was helpful & informative to you.Thank you, for sharing.
I love that you have all the berries recipes listed! Yum, blueberries are so healthy.
Thank you. It is time to try out new healthy recipes and old favorites this season. Enjoy!
How I wish blueberries grew in New Mexico! I use frozen blueberries along with other frozen berries in my milk-based smoothy every morning. I add in peaches, raspberries, mangoes, cherries, and cranberries, depending on my mood. Good stuff!
Thank you.Yay! to health drinks, fresh or frozen we get to use them in our smoothies each day. Enjoy!
Great tips! I’ve never picked blueberries before, but I’d love to if I get the chance
Thank you.Our berry picking season will soon begin and its always a fun activity we look forward to in summer.
Thanks for the great tips and advice! I have never had success growing blueberries.. I hope this helps!
You are most welcome.Glad to know you enjoyed our blogpost and found it useful & informative. Good luck with the blueberries this season. Enjoy!