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Blueberries

Nutritional Information

1 cup, blueberries

  • Calories 83
  • Calories from Fat 4.32
  • Amount%DV
  • Total Fat 0.48g1%
  • Saturated Fat 0.041g0%
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0.068g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.212g
  • Cholestreol 0mg0%
  • Sodium 1mg0%
  • Potassium 112mg3%
  • Total Carbohydrate 21.01g7%
  • Dietary Fiber 3.5g14%
  • Sugars 14.44g
  • Protein 1.07g2%
  • Calcium 1mg0%
  • Iron 2mg11%
  • Vitamin A 2%
  • Vitamin C 24%

When In Season:

    Alabama: May (late) - August (early)
    Alaska: July (late) - September (early)
    Arkansas: June (late) - August (late)
    California (Northern): May (early) - July (late)
    Connecticut: July (early) - September (early)
    Delaware: June (late) - July (early)
    Florida: April (early) - June (late)
    Georgia: April (late) - July (late)
    Indiana: June (late) - August (early)
    Iowa: June (early) - July (late)
    Kentucky: July (late) - August (late)
    Louisiana: July (early) - September (late)
    Maine: July (late) - August (late)
    Maryland: June (late) - July (late)
    Massachusetts: July (early) - August (late)
    Michigan: July (late) - August (late)
    Mississippi: May (late) - July (late)
    Missouri: June (early) - October (early)
    New Hampshire: July (late) - August (late)
    New Jersey: June (late) - August (early)
    New York: July (late) - October (late)
    North Carolina: May (late) - July (early)
    Ohio: June (late) - August (early)
    Oklahoma: June (early) - July (late)
    Oregon: July (early) - September (late)
    Rhode Island: July (late) - September (early)
    Tennessee: June (late) - August (late)
    Texas: May (early) - July (late)
    Vermont: July (late) - August (late)
    Virginia: June (late) - August (late)
    Washington: June (early) - November (late)

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Blueberries on Wikipedia:

For other uses, see Blueberry (disambiguation). Blueberry Vaccinium corymbosum Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae (unranked): Angiosperms (unranked): Eudicots (unranked): Asterids Order: Ericales Family: Ericaceae Genus: Vaccinium Section: Cyanococcus Rydb. Species

See text

Blueberries are flowering plants of the genus Vaccinium (a genus which also includes cranberries and bilberries) with dark-blue berries. Species in the section Cyanococcus are the most common fruits sold as ``blueberries`` and are mainly native to North America.[1] They are usually erect but sometimes prostrate shrubs varying in size from 10 centimetres (3.9 in) to 4 metres (160 in) tall. In commercial blueberry production, smaller species are known as ``lowbush blueberries`` (synonymous with ``wild``) and the larger species, are known as ``highbush blueberries``. The leaves can be either deciduous or evergreen, ovate to lanceolate, and 1–8 centimetres (0.39–3.1 in) long and 0.5–3.5 centimetres (0.20–1.4 in) broad. The flowers are bell-shaped, white, pale pink or red, sometimes tinged greenish.

The fruit is a false berry 5–16 millimetres (0.20–0.63 in) diameter with a flared crown at the end; they are pale greenish at first, then reddish-purple, and finally blue or blueish-purple when ripe. They have a sweet taste when mature, with variable acidity. Blueberry bushes typically bear fruit in the middle of the growing season: fruiting times are affected by local conditions such as altitude and latitude, so the height of the crop can vary from May to August depending upon these conditions.

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Origins

The genus Vaccinium has a circumpolar distribution with species in North America, Europe and Asia.

Many commercially sold species whose English common names include ``blueberry`` are currently classified in section Cyanococcus of the genus Vaccinium and come predominantly from North America. Several other plants of the genus Vaccinium also produce commonly-eaten blue berries such as the predominantly European bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), which in many languages has a name that means ``blueberry`` in English. See the Identification section for more information.

Many North American native species of blueberries are now also commercially grown in the Southern Hemisphere in Australia, New Zealand and South American countries.

Species

Note: habitat and range summaries are from the Flora of New Brunswick, published in 1986 by Harold R. Hinds.

Vaccinium angustifolium (Lowbush Blueberry):acidic barrens, bogs and clearings. Manitoba to Labrador, south to Nova Scotia and in the USA, to Iowa and Virginia Vaccinium boreale (Northern Blueberry): Peaty barrens. Quebec and Labrador (rare in New Brunswick), south to New York and Massachusetts. Vaccinium caesariense (New Jersey Blueberry) Vaccinium corymbosum (Northern Highbush Blueberry) Vaccinium darrowii (Southern Highbush Blueberry) Vaccinium elliottii (Elliott Blueberry) Vaccinium formosum (southern blueberry) Vaccinium fuscatum (Black Highbush Blueberry; syn. V. atrococcum) Vaccinium hirsutum (Hairy-fruited Blueberry) Vaccinium myrtilloides (Sour top, Velvet Leaf, or Canadian Blueberry): clearings, thickets and peat bogs. Northwest Territories (Canada) to Labrador, south to Nova Scotia, and Montana to Virginia. Vaccinium operium (cyan-fruited Blueberry) Vaccinium myrtilloides (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 koreanum Vaccinium myrsinites (Evergreen Blueberry) Vaccinium myrtillus (Bilberry)

Identification

Wild Blueberry in autumn foliage. Pilot Mtn., NC. 10-30-2008.

Commercially offered ``wild blueberries`` are usually from species that naturally occur only in eastern and north-central North America. Other sections in the genus, native to other parts of the world including western North America, South America, Europe, and Asia, include other wild shrubs producing similar-looking edible berries such as huckleberries in (North America) and bilberries (Europe). These species are sometimes called ``blueberries`` and sold as blueberry jam or other products.

The names of blue berries in languages other than English often translate as ``blueberry``, e.g., Scots Blaeberry and Norwegian Blåbær. ``Blaeberry``, ``Blåbær`` and French ``myrtilles`` usually refer to the European native bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), while bleuets refers to the North American blueberry.

Cyanococcus blueberries can be distinguished from the nearly identical looking bilberries by cutting them in half. Ripe blueberries have white or greenish flesh, while bilberries and huckleberries are colored purple throughout.

Cultivation

Blueberries may be cultivated, or they may be picked from semi-wild or wild bushes. In North America, the most common cultivated species is V. corymbosum, the Northern highbush blueberry. Hybrids of this with other Vaccinium species adapted to southern U.S. climates are known collectively as Southern highbush blueberries.

Blueberry flowers

So-called ``wild`` (lowbush) blueberries, smaller than cultivated highbush ones, are prized for their intense color. The lowbush blueberry, V. angustifolium, is found from the Atlantic provinces westward to Quebec and southward to Michigan and West Virginia. In some areas, it produces natural blueberry barrens, where it is the dominant species covering large areas. Several First Nations communities in Ontario are involved in harvesting wild blueberries. Lowbush species are fire-tolerant and blueberry production often increases following a forest fire as the plants regenerate rapidly and benefit from removal of competing vegetation. ``Wild`` has been adopted as a marketing term for harvests of managed native stands of low-bush blueberries. The bushes are not planted or genetically manipulated, but they are pruned or burned over every two years, and pests are ``managed``.[2]

There are numerous highbush cultivars of blueberries, each of which have a unique and diverse flavor. The most important blueberry breeding program has been the USDA-ARS breeding program based at Beltsville, Maryland, and Chatsworth, New Jersey. This program began when Frederick Coville of the USDA-ARS collaborated with Elizabeth Coleman White of New Jersey. In the early part of the 20th Century, White offered wild pickers cash for large-fruited blueberry plants. Rubel, one such wild blueberry cultivar, is the origin of many of the current hybrid cultivars.

Rabbiteye Blueberry (V. virgatum, syn. V. ashei) is a southern type of blueberry produced from the Carolinas to the Gulf Coast states. Other important species in North America include V. pallidum, the Hillside or Dryland Blueberry. It is native to the eastern U.S., and common in the Appalachians and the Piedmont of the Southeast. Sparkleberry, V. arboreum, is a common wild species on sandy soils in the southeastern U.S. Its fruits are important to wildlife, and the flowers are important to beekeepers.

Growing areas

Significant production of highbush blueberries occurs in British Columbia, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington. The production of southern highbush varieties in California is rapidly increasing, as varieties originating from the University of Florida and North Carolina State University have been introduced. Southern highbush berries are now also cultivated in the Mediterranean regions of Europe, Southern Hemisphere countries and China.

United States

Maine produces 25% of all lowbush blueberries in North America, making it the largest producer in the world.[citation needed] Maine's 24,291 hectares (60,020 acres) (FAO figures)[Full citation needed] of blueberry were propagated from native plants that occur naturally in the understorey of its coastal forests.[citation needed] The Maine crop requires about 50,000 beehives for pollination, with most of the hives being trucked in from other states for that purpose.[citation needed] Many towns in Maine lay claim to being the blueberry capital[citation needed] and several festivals are centered around the blueberry. The wild blueberry is the official fruit of Maine and is often as much a symbol of Maine as the lobster. While Maine is the leader of lowbush blueberry production in the United States, Michigan is the leader in highbush production.[3] In 1998, Michigan farms produced 220,000 tonnes (490,000,000 lb) of blueberries, accounting for 32% of the small, round berries eaten in the United States.[4]

Significant acreages of highbush blueberries are cultivated in the southern states of Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.[5]

Canada

Canadian exports of blueberries in 2007 were $323 million,[clarification needed] the largest fruit crop produced nationally, occupying more than half of all Canadian fruit acreage.[6] Among the most productive growing regions in the world, British Columbia is the largest Canadian producer of highbush blueberries, yielding 29,000 t (64,000,000 lb) in 2004[7][8] and over $100 million in 2008 revenues.[6]

Quebec produces a large quantity of wild blueberries, especially in the regions of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean (where a popular name for inhabitants of the regions is Bleuets, or ``blueberries``), and Côte-Nord which together provide 40% of Quebec's total provincial production. Due in part to declining frequency and intensity of spring frosts, Quebec's wild blueberry production 27,000 t (60,000,000 lb) in 2008[9] now rivals that of Maine, creating cross-border tensions on pricing and regional markets.[10]

Nova Scotia, the biggest producer of wild blueberries in Canada, recognizes the blueberry as its official provincial berry.[11] The town of Oxford is known as the Wild Blueberry Capital of Canada. New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are other Atlantic provinces with major wild blueberry farming.[12]

Atlantic Canada contributes approximately half of the total North American annual production of 68,000 t (150,000,000 lb), a three-fold increase since the 1980s.[13] Gains in yield derived from improved field management, including better weed control, fertility management and irrigation methods, increased use of bees for pollination, and application of mechanical harvesters.

Europe

Highbush blueberries were first introduced to Germany and the Netherlands in the 1930s and have since been spread to Poland, Italy, Hungary and other countries of Europe.[14]

``Many growers in France, Austria, and Italy realized too that it pays to cultivate highbush blueberries, and that good economic gain can be obtained,`` according to an industry researcher. ``Even in Belgium and Norway, some very promising trials with special methods of blueberry cultivation resulted in a limited commercial production which is very successful. …Except in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Spain, a blueberry industry is developing in all regions where the production is possible due to the climatic and edaphic conditions…``[14]

The northeastern part of Turkey is one of the main sources of Caucasian whortleberry (Vaccinium arctostaphylos), bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) and bog blueberry, bog whortleberry or bog bilberry (Vaccinium uliginosum). In this area grow little known wild blueberries with various names such as likapa, ligarba, kaskanaka, çela, morsvi, lifos, çalı çileği, ayı üzümü, çoban üzümü and so on. This region from Artvin to Kırklareli, as well as parts of Bursa (including Rize, Trabzon, Ordu, Giresun, Samsun, Sinop, and of Kastamonu, Zonguldak, İstanbul, İzmit and Adapazari) has rainy, humid growing periods and natural acidic soils which are suitable for blueberries (Çelik, 2005, 2006 and 2007).[Full citation needed] Native Vaccinium species and open pollinated types have been grown for over a hundred years around the Black Sea region of Turkey. These native blueberries are eaten locally as jelly, dried or fresh fruit and also by those in the Black Sea region (Çelik, 2005).[Full citation needed] These are not cultivated; wild berries grow naturally on the hills, plateaus and forests. On the other hand, highbush blueberry cultivation started around the year 2000 along with Black Sea region has natural acidic soil and high rainfall. The first commercial blueberry orchard was established by Osman Nuri Yildiz and supervised by Dr. Huseyin Celik who is the founder of Turkish Blueberry Cultivation.[citation needed]

Southern hemisphere

In the Southern hemisphere, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia now export blueberries.

Blueberries were first introduced to Australia in the 1950s, but the effort was unsuccessful. In the early 1970s David Jones from the Victorian Department of Agriculture imported seed from the U.S. and a selection trial was started. This work was continued by Ridley Bell, who imported more American varieties. In the mid-1970s the Australian Blueberry Growers Association (ABGA) was formed. (Clayton-Greene)

By the early 1980s, the blueberry industry was started in New Zealand and is still growing. (BNZ, n.d)

South Africa exports blueberries to Europe.

The industry is even newer in Argentina: ``Argentine blueberry production has increased over the last three years with planted area up to 400 percent,`` according to a 2005 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.[Full citation needed] But that increase comes from a tiny base of 400 hectares (990 acres) in 2001 and 1,600 hectares (4,000 acres) in 2004. The industry is new in the country and farmers are still learning the business. ``Argentine blueberry production has thrived in three different regions: the province of Entre Rios in Northeastern Argentina, the province of Buenos Aires, near the country’s capital city Buenos Aires, and the southern Patagonian valleys,`` according to the report.[15]

Chile is the biggest producer in South America and the largest exporter to the northern hemisphere, with an estimated area of 6,800 hectares (17,000 acres) (as of 2007). Introduction of the first plants started in the early 1980s and production started in the late 80s in the southern part of the country. Today production ranges from Copiapó in the north to Puerto Montt in the south, which allows the country to offer blueberries from October through late March. The main production area today is the Bio Bio region. Production has evolved rapidly in the last decade, becoming the 4th most important fruit exported in value terms. Fresh market blueberries are exported mainly to North America (80%) followed by Europe (18%). Information from the Fruit Export Association,[16] Chile exported in 2007 more than 21,000 tonnes (46,000,000 lb) of fresh blueberries and more than 1,000 tonnes (2,200,000 lb) of frozen product. Most of the production comes from the highbush type, but several rabbiteye blueberries are grown in the country as well. Information taken from the Chilean Fruit Producers Federation[17] and their Blueberry Committee, stands that there are over 800 blueberry producers with surfaces ranging from 50 to 200 hectares (120 to 490 acres).

Growing seasons

A maturing Polaris blueberry (Vaccinium 'Polaris')

Blueberry production in North America typically starts in mid-May (in Florida) and ends in the month of September, when some fruit is held over in controlled-atmosphere storage in Oregon, Washington, and Canada. (Gaskell, 2006).

Sources give different periods for the growing season in the southern hemisphere. According to the University of California Extension Service, Chile, New Zealand and Argentina begin harvesting in the winter and continue till mid-March, when Chilean blueberries are held over in controlled-atmosphere storage for about six weeks. ``As a result, blueberries reach annual peak prices in mid-April.``(Gaskell, 2006)

In Chile, San Jose Farms, which says (according to its Web site) that it is one of the oldest blueberry producers in the country (it started in the early 1990s), states that its harvest season starts in November and continues through March. (San Jose, n.d.)

In Argentina: ``The marketing year (MY) for blueberries begins in September and ends in February,`` according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report.[15] Blueberries grow in April and May.

Uses

Blueberries at market

Blueberries are sold fresh or processed as individually quick frozen (IQF) fruit, purée, juice, or dried or infused berries which in turn may be used in a variety of consumer goods such as jellies, jams, pies, muffins, snack foods, and cereals.

Blueberry jam is made from blueberries, sugar, water, and fruit pectin. Premium blueberry jam, usually made from wild blueberries, is common in Maine, Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.

Blueberries have a diverse range of micronutrients, with notably high levels (relative to respective Dietary Reference Intakes) of the essential dietary mineral manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fiber (table).[18] One serving provides a relatively low glycemic load score of 4 out of 100 per day.

Nutrients and phytochemicals

Blueberries, raw Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz) Energy 239 kJ (57 kcal) Carbohydrates 14.5 g Dietary fiber 2.4 g Fat 0.3 g Protein 0.7 g Vitamin A 54 IU - lutein and zeaxanthin 80 μg Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.04 mg (3%) Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.04 mg (3%) Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.42 mg (3%) Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.1 mg (2%) Vitamin B6 0.1 mg (8%) Folate (Vit. B9) 6 μg (2%) Vitamin C 10 mg (17%) Vitamin E 0.6 mg (4%) Calcium 6 mg (1%) Iron 0.3 mg (2%) Magnesium 6 mg (2%) Phosphorus 12 mg (2%) Potassium 77 mg (2%) Zinc 0.2 mg (2%) manganese 0.3 mg 20% vitamin K 19 mcg 24% Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults. Source: USDA Nutrient database

Especially in wild species, blueberries contain anthocyanins, other antioxidant pigments and various phytochemicals possibly having a role in reducing risks of some diseases,[19] including inflammation and certain cancers.[20][21][22]

Potential anti-disease effects

Researchers have shown that blueberry anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, flavonols, and tannins inhibit mechanisms of cancer cell development and inflammation in vitro.[23][24][25][26] Similar to red grape, some blueberry species contain in their skins significant levels of resveratrol,[27] a phytochemical.

Although most studies below were conducted using the highbush cultivar of blueberries (V. corymbosum), content of polyphenol antioxidants and anthocyanins in lowbush (wild) blueberries (V. angustifolium) exceeds values found in highbush species.[28]

At a 2007 symposium on berry health benefits were reports showing consumption of blueberries (and similar berry fruits including cranberries) may alleviate the cognitive decline occurring in