The blueberry is a small, sweet, black and blue fruit from the blueberry plant. They grow on a perennial that is the same family as cranberries and huckleberries.
Blueberries grow on bushes both wild and cultivated and call North America home. The wild type is known as lowbush because of the closeness to the ground. The fruit that these grow is generally smaller and more concentrated in terms of flavor. They are usually the size of a pea.
The cultivated, commercial kind are called highbush and grow on larger bushes and the berries they producer are larger in size. The US produces about 40% of the world’s highbush variety.
The fruit starts off pale green before transforming to the dark blue, purple, black that we all know and love when they are ripe. They have a small flared crown at the top and lighter colored flesh.
They are sold in all sorts of ways. At most stores you can find them fresh, frozen, in a puree, as juice, and freeze-dried. This doesn’t even touch on the jams, jellies, pie fillings, and granola products they are used in.
Blueberries in their fresh form have a sweet and tart taste. This is not always equal. Sometimes you can be eating a handful and have some that are extremely sweet, some that are super tart, and some that are a nice mix of the two.
The general rule of thumb is ripeness. Darker and bluer berries tend to be sweeter. If the flesh is lighter or leaning toward the green part of the spectrum, expect a more tart taste.
They are wonderful on their own, and also fantastic in everything from pies to tarts to ice creams. They even have some savory applications. Savory blueberry sauce is absolutely delicious.
Here are some terrific recipes using blueberry:
- Balsamic Thyme Blueberry Sauce
- Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes
- Berry Buttermilk Pound Cake
- Homemade Blueberry Muffins with Crumb Topping
- Reverse Sear Beef Tenderloin with Blueberry Sauce & Toasted Hazelnuts
What are the health benefits of blueberries?
This fruit is a great source of fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Their phytonutrient content is thought to help with heart health.
What happens if you eat blueberries every day?
It is thought that eating blueberries every day can lead to better heart health.
Can eating too many blueberries be harmful?
You will not turn into Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka if you eat these every day. Without going into too much detail, keep in mind that they are a great source of fiber.
Can I use frozen blueberries in a recipe if it calls for fresh blueberries?
Yes! The blueberry season is relatively short and if you don’t live near a blueberry patch, it might be hard to get your hands on some. I find it wonderful to have some frozen ones in my freezer for when the mood strikes. (This usually happens mid-winter when cravings for summer are strong.)
Frozen blueberries do have a tendency to turn whatever you are using them in a funny shade of purple. To avoid this, rinse them in cold water until the runoff water is noticeably clearer. Dry them with several layers of paper towel on the top and bottom.