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.
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.
They also contain significant amounts of anthocyanadins, providing them their distinct blue colour, and are full of antioxidants.
Shake the container to check freshness. If the blueberries do not move freely, they may be soft, damaged, or moldy.
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.
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.
|July to September|
Nutrition per 125 mL of blueberries (77 g), raw:
|Total Sugar||8 g|
|Total Dietary Fibre||2.0 g|
|Vitamin C||7 mg|
Provided by Health Canada