BlueberriesPosted 9 years ago under Health
Blueberries are a summer superfood grown from perennial flowering shrubs. They are known to contain antioxidants as well have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. These sweet, nutritious berries are extremely versatile in their culinary uses.
Blueberries come from the group Cyanococcus of the genus Vacinnium.
Kingdom (Plantae) → Phylum (Angiosperms) → Class (Eudicots) → Asterids → Order (Ericales) → Family (Ericaceae) → Genus (Vaccinium) → Section (Cyanococcus)
Blueberries are grown on shrubs that range from a few inches up to 14 feet tall. Blueberries start out as green immature berries. They become pinker then blue as they ripen. When fully ripen, they are a dark blue and the inside flesh is green. The seeds of a blueberry are small, making them easy to digest.
Blueberries are predominantly found in North America. A relative of the blueberry plant, the Bilberry, is grown in Europe.
Blueberries are known for containing phytonutrients including anthocyanidins, which are a powerful antioxidant. They are low in calories with only 57 calories per serving (3.5 oz) and a great source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese.
Commercial production is divided into two categories- low bush blueberries and high bush blueberries. The most commonly cultivated variety is the northern high-bush blueberry, V. Corymbosum. Hybrids of this with other species have been developed in order to grow in Southern US climates. 25% of blueberries grown in North America are produced in Maine. Georgia, with its growing season lasting from late April through July, has become a major player in the blueberry market with almost 10% of the blueberries grown in the United States.
Wild blueberries is a marketing term used to describe low-bush blueberries grown for this purpose. These blueberries are cultivated wild stands of blueberry bushes that are trimmed or burned every two years in order to keep them at a small height. The label ‘wild blueberries’ is not a guarantee that no pesticides were used in cultivation and should not be trusted as such.
Although blueberries used to be picked by hand, typically farmers now use mechanical pickers that shake the berries off of the shrubs. Frozen blueberries are picked at the height of ripeness before being frozen and packaged.