Blueberries

Members of the Ericaceae family, and relatives of the cranberry and bilberry, blueberries grow in small clusters that range in size from a small pea to a marble, and range in colour from blue to maroon to purple-black.

Blueberries are one of the few fruits that are native to North America. Low-bush blueberries are widespread, and native to Europe, the Mediterranean, and Asia as well, but high-bush blueberries are found almost exclusively in North America. Blueberries cultivation is widespread in Canada, especially in the Maritimes, and Canada accounts for about 30% of world production.

Low-bush is Ontario’s main variety, but high-bush blueberries began to be cultivated in 1976.

Lowbush: grows wild and is cultivated in Ontario. They are commonly referred to as “wild blueberries.”

Highbush: grows up to 6 to 8 feet high, and are sensitive to winter damage. Their fruit is larger than the lowbush blueberry. Highbush blueberries began to be cultivated in Ontario in 1976.

Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C and fibre, and they’re also low in calories. Half a cup of blueberries only contains 41 calories.

They also contain significant amounts of anthocyanadins, providing them their distinct blue colour, and are full of antioxidants.

Look for firm, sweet-smelling berries. Avoid containers with crushed berries, as this can spoil the others.

Shake the container to check freshness. If the blueberries do not move freely, they may be soft, damaged, or moldy.

Before storing, remove any crushed berries to prevent spoilage. Don’t wash before storing either!

Store blueberries in the refrigerator, loosely covered in plastic wrap. Use within two weeks of purchasing. For best results, bring to room temperature before serving.

Both highbush and lowbush blueberries can be frozen. If freezing, do not wash beforehand, but remove the stems. Freeze in a single layer, then pack into a freezer bag.

Blueberries cook very well, and therefore are used widely in many sweet dishes.

Wash them very gently before eating or cooking, and pat dry.

Frozen blueberries can be easily added to quick dishes, like smoothies, right from the freezer.

blueberries
Seasonal Availability
July to September

Nutrition per 125 mL of blueberries (77 g), raw:

Nutrient Value
Calories 44
Protein 1
Carbohydrates 11 g
Total Sugar 8 g
Total Dietary Fibre 2.0 g
Calcium 5 mg
Iron 0.2 mg
Sodium 1 mg
Potassium 59 mg
Magnesium 5 mg
Vitamin C 7 mg

Provided by Health Canada