Blueberry fruit is the fruit of the Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.). Blueberries are classified in section Cyanococcus of the genus Vaccinium, in the Heath family (Ericaceae). There are many different species of blueberries. Species Cyanococcus are mainly native to North America and are the most common fruits sold as "blueberries". In commercial blueberries production, smaller species are known as lowbush (wild) blueberries, and the larger species are generally known as highbush blueberries.
Highbush vs Lowbush Blueberries
Both blueberry plants/fruits are types of blueberries in the same genus (Vaccinium), but are slightly different species.
What is the difference between a wild (Lowbush) and a cultivated (Highbush) blueberry?
> Wild (lowbush) blueberries often have a better concentration of flavor and smaller than the cultivated highbush ones
> "Highbush" or "Cultivated" or "Improved" blueberries are bigger and plumper than lowbush, although not quite as flavorful as the lowbush counter parts.
> Lowbush blueberries (also known as wild blueberries) which come mainly from Maine, are harvested once each year (generally in August), while the highbush blueberries are generally cultivated from late June to the end of July, depending on the season.
> The lowbush (wild) blueberries are grown in Northern Maine and parts of Canada. The lowbush blueberry is from a different plant, but part of the vacinnium family. In North America, the most common cultivated species is Vaccinium corymbosum, the Northern highbush blueberry. Hybrids of this with other Vaccinium species adapted to southern U.S. climates are known collectively as Southern highbush blueberries.
> Most of highbush blueberry fruit is sold fresh compared to wild (lowbush) blueberries which are mostly processed and sold frozen.
> According to Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2004, USDA studies show that wild blueberries deliver a potent antioxidant punch — in fact they have the highest antioxidant capacity per serving, compared with more than 20 other fruits.
Is wild blueberry cultivated? Wild blueberries (also known as lowbush blueberries) grow naturally as a first-growth plant in North America and are not planted like "cultivated blueberries" (highbush ones).
Blueberries vs 'Blue Berries'
Can i eat the fruit of a mysterious plant with blue berries in my yard? No. Similar to wild and cultivated mushrooms, there are many blue colored berries which are NOT good to eat. Some of those 'blue berries' are also poisonous.
Why are the blueberries blue? About the blue color, blueberry contains a substance called anthocyanin which is a water soluble pigment that imparts colors ranging from blue to shades of red. Blueberries are relatively dark, rich, or intense in color, ranging from blue to purple-black to maroon, and feature a white-gray waxy "bloom" that covers the surface serving as a protective coat. The blueberry peel/skin surrounds a semi-transparent Blueberry flesh that encases tiny Blueberry seeds.
Growing Blueberries. Blueberry plants may be cultivated in the garden or in containers. Growing Tips For Blueberries: The suitable soil for planting blueberries should be acidic soil with a range of 4.5 to 5.5. Blueberries are often self-pollinating, but for better result, some people prefer planting more than one variety. Blueberries can also occasionally suffer from pest and disease attack. If you don't have blueberries acidic soil, try growing blueberries in containers.
How to grow blueberries in containers? Standard varieties of blueberries will not thrive in pots. You should choose a type of dwarf blueberry bush that grows well in containers. Varieties of blueberries that can be grown in containers includes Sunshine Blue, Northsky, Bluecrop, and Earliblue.
Blueberry nutrition facts. Blueberries are very rich in antioxidants and a diverse range of micronutrients, with notably high levels of the essential dietary mineral manganese, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, and dietary fiber. Blueberries contain pterostilbene, anthocyanins (blue-red pigments found in blueberries), proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, flavonols, and tannins, which slow down mechanisms of cancer cell development and inflammation in vitro.
Some blueberry species contain in their peels significant levels of pterostilbene, a stilbenoid chemically related to resveratrol that is found in colorful fruit, especially blueberries and red grapes. Especially in wild species, blueberry fruits contain anthocyanins, the blue-red pigments found in blueberries, and various phytochemicals, which may reduce risks of some diseases, including certain cancers and inflammation.
Blueberries contain another antioxidant compound called ellagic acid, which blocks metabolic pathways that can lead to cancer. Blueberries contain tannins, which act as astringents in the digestive system to reduce inflammation. Blueberries also contain the same compounds found in cranberries that help prevent or eliminate urinary tract infections.
Just like other kaempferol-rich foods (e.g. onions, spinach, broccoli), blueberries also include a flavonoid called kaempferol. Research calculating flavonoid intake in 66,940 women enrolled in the Nurses Health Study between 1984 and 2002 revealed that women whose diets provided the most kaempferol had a 40% reduction in risk of ovarian cancer, compared to women eating the least kaempferol-rich foods.
According to a study, Proanthocyanidin, a chemical isolated from blueberry leaves, suppresses expression of subgenomic hepatitis C virus RNA.
Blueberry Seed Oil, cold pressed from blueberry seeds, is a potent source of tocopherols, carotenoids and natural antioxidants. It is high in essential Omega 3 fatty acids, containing a high percentage of alpha linolenic acid.
Blueberry Calories - How Many Calories in Blueberry
Blueberry calories 1 cup?
> There are approximately 83 calories in 1 cup (about 143 grams) of fresh blueberries.
> There are approximately 17 calories in 1 ounce (28g) of fresh blueberries.
How to ripen Blueberries?
Ethylene may also be used when you want to accelerate ripening. You can place blueberries with an apple fruit in bag. The ethylene from the apple fruit will cause the blueberries to ripen faster, so you'll get the early ripe blueberries.
Health Benefits of Blueberry
+ Anthocyanins cause blood vessels to relax and increase production of nitric oxide that helps in maintaining normal blood pressure.
+ Proanthocyanidin from blueberry leaves helps block replication of the hepatitis C virus.
+ Tannins act as astringents in the digestive system to reduce inflammation.
+ may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults.
+ lower cholesterol and total blood lipid levels, possibly affecting symptoms of heart disease.
+ help protect the brain from oxidative stress.
+ may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia.
+ Blueberries may also help prevent urinary tract infections.
+ Research showed that blueberry consumption in rats altered glycosaminoglycans which are vascular cell components affecting control of blood pressure.
+ help relieve both diarrhea and constipation.
+ Another antioxidant compound called 'ellagic acid' can block metabolic pathways that can lead to cancer.
+ may decrease colon cancer risk. Phenolic compounds in blueberries can inhibit colon cancer cell proliferation and induce apoptosis (programmed cell death).
+ protect women against ovarian cancer.
+ blueberries may improve night vision and prevent tired eyes.
+ ongoing brain research shows that blueberries may improve motor skills and actually reverse the short-term memory loss that comes with aging.
Cons of Blueberry
- Blueberries Oxalates. Blueberries contain measurable amounts of oxalates. Some health professionals believe that oxalates contribute the formation of kidney stones. Oxalates should not be eaten in high concentration as they can crystallize and cause kidney or gallbladder problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating blueberries. Oxalates are naturally-occurring chemicals in nature which are found in plants, animals, human beings, most common in fruits and vegetables. High oxalate fruits include many berries, including blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Red or purple grapes also tend to contain a high level of oxalates. Plums, currants, kiwis and tangerines also top the list for high-oxalate foods. According to a research, there are also high levels of oxalate in the peels of many fruits, including oranges, lemons and limes.
- Blueberries Pesticide Residues. According to the Environmental Working Group's 2010 report "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides," blueberries (grown in the United States) are among the 12 foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. The liver's ability to process other toxins, the cells' ability to produce energy, and the nerves' ability to send messages can all be compromised by pesticide exposure.
How to enjoy a blueberry? Rinse the blueberries with water. Eat them by biting them with your teeth one by one. The very small blueberry seeds are also edible. Blueberries can be eaten fresh or cooked in a variety of foods. You can also try to add a bunch into smoothies, with milk or yogurt. Here are other ways to eat blueberries:
+ Native blueberries are usually consumed locally as jelly, dried or fresh fruit.
+ Processed blueberries are used mostly in baked goods like blueberry muffins, blueberry pie, blueberry cakes, etc.
+ Blueberries are also processed as individually quick frozen (IQF) fruit, Blueberry purée, Blueberry juice, snack foods, and cereals.
+ Blueberry wine is made from the blueberry flesh and skins/peels, which is fermented and then matured; often the lowbush (wild) blueberry is used. It is not all that easy to make a good blueberry wine. There are actually very few commercial blueberry winemakers.
+ Blueberry jam is made from blueberries, sugar, water, and fruit pectin. Premium blueberry jam is usually made from wild blueberries.
+ Recipes using blueberries also include blueberry salsa, blueberry ice cream, blueberry pancakes, blueberry desserts, blueberry crisp, blueberry crumble, blueberry cobbler, and more.
In addition to Blueberries, there are also other healthy berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and cranberries that you might want to try.