Time for an in-depth look into our favorite blue berry. Everyone loves blueberries whether they’re picked and eaten straight from the bush or baked into a favorite dessert, but have you ever wanted to know more about this delicious fruit?
First, let’s take a closer look at the berries. As you can see from our picture, ripe berries appear a dusky shade of blue, which is caused by a thin white coating called “bloom”. This is a natural wax produced by the blueberries to help protect their skins from the elements. As a natural product produced by the plant, bloom is safe to eat and helps preserve the fruit longer.
BC Farm Fresh blueberry growers can be found at: http://www.bcfarmfresh.com/farm-products/blueberries/
The Fraser Valley has perfect climate and growing conditions for blueberries. The result is great tasting, nutritious berries for all of us to enjoy. You’ll find blueberries throughout the Fraser Valley; from Agassiz to Delta. BC is a blueberry economic power house; our production has been increasing steadily for many years. We have over 800 growers that have over 11,300 hectares (28,000 acres) planted in blueberries. The fields produce about 54 million kilograms (120 million pounds) annually. This makes BC one of the largest highbush blueberry-growing regions in the world, with Canada the third top producing country. Thanks to the BC Blueberry Council for these great facts.
Wow, who knew? At BC Farm Fresh, we’re just interested in their great taste and versatility! Good thing we have farms taking care of all the growing details!
How about blueberries in history?
Blueberries are from the same plant family as azaleas, rhododendrons, and heather. They all love acidic soil, and a temperate climate. Blueberries are native to North America. Like cranberries, blueberries were well-known to the First Nations people long before Europeans arrived. Native Americans once called them “star berries,” because the five points of blueberry blossoms make a star shape. They were used for medicinal purposes as well as a nutritious food source and a dye.
We’re not the only ones that love blueberries; they are also a favorite of the animal kingdom – bears love them, and so do raccoons, and cows.
At BC Farm Fresh we want to know what did all those poor Europeans do before blueberries were “discovered” in the new world?
Blueberries have more to offer than just good looks and taste!
You can’t go wrong eating blueberries as they continue to be one of the best choices to include in a healthy diet. One cup; about 140 grams have about 80 calories; this provides about 20% of your daily fibre and about 15% of your daily vitamin C requirements. Blueberries are naturally low in both fat and sodium.
But that is just the start of blueberry nutrition. Blueberries have been considered one of the leading “superfruits” by researchers in Canada and US who keep finding more and more health benefits from this tasty little berry. Blueberries rank among the highest for antioxidant activity in testing’s of over 100 different foods. Being one of the best sources of antioxidants, blueberries can help slow the aging process and reduce cell damage that can lead to cancer, cardiovascular disease and loss of brain function. Blueberries also contain condensed tannins that help prevent urinary tract infections, and anthyocyanin-a natural compound linked to reducing eyestrain.
Blueberries taste great and they’re good for you, so enjoy!
Good looking, tasty, nutritious, and versatile!
What’s your favorite way to enjoy blueberries? We discussed our favorite blueberry recipes at BC Farm Fresh. Of course the favorite was eating them just the way they are. What could be better than a handful or bowlful of fresh, tasty blueberries? We all have favorite jam, pie and other dessert recipes. But what about using blueberries in salads, beverages, entrees or sauces? Or how about some breakfast ideas?
Our first step was to visit the BC Blueberry Council’s recipe section to look for some enticing ideas to broaden our blueberry world. We found some amazing ideas like:
More great recipes can be found at: http://www.bcblueberry.com/recipes/
Try some new recipes and be sure to share your blueberry stories! We’d love to know.
From BC Farm Fresh: we hope that you’ve enjoyed learning more about this great berry!
The Farm Fresh Reference Guide is produced by the Fraser Valley Farm Direct Marketing Association in cooperation with the BC Ministry of Agriculture.
For information on participating in Farm Fresh Reference Guide or bcfarmfresh.com, contact us at:
24565 Dewdney Trunk Road
Maple Ridge, BC V4R 1W9
Email: [email protected]