Food highlights:

  • Best stored in fridge
  • Will ripen at room temperature
  • Good source of fibre
  • Will not ripen after harvesting
  • low fat 0.1g 0.1%
  • low sat fat 0g 0%
  • low salt 0mg 0%
  • med sugar 10.8g 10.8%
*As guideline of daily recommended intake per 100g

Blueberry

Indigo-coloured blueberries can be eaten raw, tossed in savoury salads, added to desserts or made into salad dressings. Blueberries are a good source of vitamins C and K and dietary fibre. In Victoria, they are at their peak between November and February.

What is a blueberry?

Luscious blueberries are a perfect accompaniment to creamy dairy products. There is no need for ice when you can toss a handful of frozen blueberries into your banana smoothie. You also get the bonus of extra vitamins in your drink. And let’s not forget the blueberry tart – sugar-dusted blueberries showcased on golden pastry and served with lashings of clotted cream.

Blueberry species native to North America are now cultivated commercially throughout the world. They were first introduced to Australia in the late 1960s and there is now a thriving blueberry industry on the eastern coast and in cooler regions of Australia. Blueberries are grown from Queensland to Tasmania and in the south-west of Western Australia.

Varieties

In Australia, blueberries are sold in punnets (containers) but not by variety.

Nowadays, there is a greater choice for shoppers as blueberries are grown in Australia and New Zealand as well as in North America.

Why blueberries are good to eat

  • Blueberries are a good source of vitamins C (needed for the growth and repair of tissues in the body) and K (important for helping your blood to clot).
  • They also contain minerals such as potassium (which helps to regulate blood pressure) and manganese (involved in the regulation of brain and nerve function).
  • Blueberries contain dietary fibre, which is important for a healthy bowel.
  • Energy – 100 g of blueberries supplies 220 kJ.

How are they grown and harvested?

Blueberry bushes grow best in climates with cool winters. New plants are grown from cuttings from established bushes. Cool summer nights and warm and sunny days result in fruit with great flavour. The bushes also need plenty of water and shelter from hot, dry winds.

During the cool weather, flower buds develop on the blueberry bush. White or pink flowers appear in spring and eventually these develop into clusters of berries. The fruit is usually ripe between two and four months after the flowers have fully developed. As the berries ripen they change colour from green to red to blue. Depending on the type of blueberry bush, the plant can grow to more than 7 m tall. Blueberry bushes are pruned to encourage more growth and to make harvesting easier.

Harvesting of blueberries is labour intensive, as the fruit is hand-picked to avoid damage. Blueberries do not ripen further after they have been picked and the clusters of blueberries do not necessarily ripen simultaneously. Sometimes, blueberries picked early in the season are not very sweet.

Choosing blueberries

Choose blueberries that are plump, firm and uniform in colour. Blueberries have a light-blue to silver coating or dusted look (known as the ‘bloom’). This is a natural protective coating that develops on the berries to protect them from the sun and does not affect the quality of the fruit.

Avoid blueberries that look soft or shrivelled. Also avoid selecting punnets stained with blueberry juice or those that have mouldy berries.

How to store and keep blueberries

Store blueberries covered in your fridge. Do not wash them until you are ready to use them. Use blueberries within five days of buying.

How to use

  • Make a salsa – combine blueberries with sliced red onion, red capsicum, chilli, fresh coriander leaves and a squeeze of lemon juice then serve with chicken or fish.
  • Drizzle blueberry vinaigrette on your salad – blend blueberries with olive oil, red wine vinegar and seasoning.
  • Add a nutritious punch to breakfast – toss a handful of blueberries on the uncooked side of pancakes before turning, then serve with creamy yoghurt.
  • Try blueberries in a salad – toss blueberries, spinach leaves, slices of red onion and pear and fresh ricotta cheese, then drizzle with a garlic and lemon juice dressing and sprinkle with chopped basil leaves and walnuts before serving.

Content Partner

This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Better Health Channel

Last updated: October 2015

Content on this website is provided for information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not in any way endorse or support such therapy, service, product or treatment and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. The information and materials contained on this website are not intended to constitute a comprehensive guide concerning all aspects of the therapy, product or treatment described on the website. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions and to ascertain whether the particular therapy, service, product or treatment described on the website is suitable in their circumstances. The State of Victoria and the Department of Health & Human Services shall not bear any liability for reliance by any user on the materials contained on this website.

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