Blueberries are perennial flowering flowers with blue– or purple–colored berries. They are classified within the segment Cyanococcus in the genus Vaccinium. Vaccinium also includes cranberries, bilberries, huckleberries, and Madeira blueberries.
Commercial “blueberries” – including both wild (‘lowbush’) and cultivated (‘highbush’) blueberries – are all local to North America. The highbush blueberry sorts were introduced into Europe in the course of the 1930s.
Blueberries are generally prostrate shrubs that can range in length from 10 centimeters (3.9 in) to 4 meters (13 ft) in height. In commercial manufacturing of blueberries, the species with small, pea–length berries growing on low–level trees are recognized as “lowbush blueberries” (synonymous with “wild”), even as the species with larger berries developing on taller cultivated bushes are regarded as “highbush blueberries”.
Canada is the leading manufacturer of lowbush blueberries, at the same time as the USA produces some 40% of the world supply of highbush blueberries.
Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are sold clean or are processed as individually quick frozen (IQF) fruit, purée, juice, or dried or infused berries. These may then be used in lots of purchaser goods, together with jellies, jams, blueberry pies, muffins, snack foods, or as an additive to breakfast cereals.
Blueberry jam is made from blueberries, sugar, water, and fruit pectin. Blueberry sauce is a candy sauce organized the use of blueberries as a primary ingredient.
Blueberries include 14% carbohydrates, 0.7% protein, 0.3% fat and 84% water. They comprise the handiest negligible amounts of micronutrients, with slight levels (relative to respective Daily Values) (DV) of the essential dietary mineral manganese, vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fiber.
Generally, nutrient contents of blueberries are a low percentage of the DV (table). One serving gives a noticeably low caloric fee of 57 kcal consistent with one hundred g serving and glycemic load rating of 6 out of 100 in keeping with day.
Phytochemicals and research
Blueberries comprise anthocyanins, different polyphenols, and numerous phytochemicals under preliminary research for their ability role inside the human body.
Most polyphenol research were conducted using the highbush cultivar of blueberries (V. Corymbosum), while content material of polyphenols and anthocyanins in lowbush (wild) blueberries (V. Angustifolium) exceeds values found in highbush cultivars.
Origin and records of cultivation
Flowers on a cultivated blueberry bush
The genus Vaccinium has a mostly circumpolar distribution, with species specially present in North America, Europe, and Asia. Many commercially bought species with English common names which includes “blueberry” are from North America, mainly Atlantic Canada and Northeastern United States for wild (lowbush) blueberries, and several US states and British Columbia for cultivated (highbush) blueberries. Canada’s First Nations people consumed wild blueberries for centuries earlier than North America became settled. Highbush blueberries have been first cultivated in New Jersey around the start of the twentieth century.
North American local species of blueberries are grown commercially in the Southern Hemisphere in Australia, New Zealand and South American nations. Several different wild shrubs of the genus Vaccinium additionally produce commonly eaten blue berries, together with the predominantly European Vaccinium myrtillus and different bilberries, which in lots of languages have a call that interprets to “blueberry” in English.
Five species of blueberries develop wild in Canada, along with Vaccinium myrtilloides, Vaccinium angustifolium, and Vaccinium corymbosum which grow on forest floors or near swamps. Wild (lowbush) blueberries aren’t planted by means of farmers, however as a substitute are controlled on berry fields referred to as “barrens”.
Wild blueberries reproduce with the aid of pass pollination, with each seed producing a plant with a special genetic composition, causing within the same species differences in growth, productivity, color, leaf characteristics, ailment resistance, flavor, and different fruit characteristics. The mom plant develops underground stems referred to as rhizomes, allowing the plant to form a community of rhizomes developing a huge patch (known as a clone) that is genetically distinct. Floral and leaf buds develop intermittently alongside the stems of the plant, with each floral bud giving upward push to 5-6 plant life and the eventual fruit. Wild blueberries opt for a barely acidic soil of round pH 6 and simplest mild amounts of moisture. They have a hardy bloodless tolerance in their Canadian range. Fruit productivity of lowbush blueberries varies by using the degree of pollination, genetics of the clone, soil fertility, water availability, insect infestation, plant diseases, and local developing situations. Wild (lowbush) blueberries have a mean mature weight of 0.3 grams (0.011 oz).
Highbush (cultivated) blueberries choose sandy or loam soils, having shallow root structures that advantage from mulch and fertilizer. The leaves of highbush blueberries can be both deciduous or evergreen, ovate to lanceolate, and 1–eight cm (0.39–3.15 in) long and 0.5–3.five cm (0.20–1.38 in) broad. The plant life are bell-shaped, white, faded red or red, once in a while tinged greenish.
The fruit is a berry 5–sixteen millimeters (0.20–0.sixty three in) in diameter with a flared crown on the end; they are faded greenish at first, then reddish-pink, and finally darkish pink while ripe. They are blanketed in a defensive coating of powdery epicuticular wax, colloquially referred to as the “bloom”. They have a sweet flavor whilst mature, with variable acidity. Blueberry bushes normally undergo fruit inside the middle of the developing season: fruiting instances are suffering from local situations consisting of climate, altitude and latitude, so the time of harvest within the northern hemisphere can range from May to August.
Note: habitat and range summaries are from the Flora of New Brunswick, published in 1986 by means of Harold R. Hinds, and Plants of the Pacific Northwest coast, posted in 1994 via Pojar and MacKinnon.
Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry): acidic barrens, bathrooms and clearings, Manitoba to Labrador, south to Nova Scotia and within the US, to Iowa and Virginia
Vaccinium boreale (northern blueberry): peaty barrens, Quebec and Labrador (uncommon in New Brunswick), south to New York and Massachusetts
Vaccinium caesariense (New Jersey blueberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (northern highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium darrowii (evergreen blueberry)
Vaccinium elliottii (Elliott blueberry)
Vaccinium formosum (southern blueberry)
Vaccinium fuscatum (black highbush blueberry; syn. V. Atrococcum)
Vaccinium hirsutum (hairy-fruited blueberry)
Vaccinium myrsinites (shiny blueberry)
Vaccinium myrtilloides (bitter top, velvet leaf, or Canadian blueberry)
Vaccinium pallidum (dryland blueberry)
Vaccinium simulatum (upland highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium tenellum (southern blueberry)
Vaccinium virgatum (rabbiteye blueberry; syn. V. Ashei)
Some other blue-fruited species of Vaccinium:
Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry or European blueberry)