With flavors that range from mildly sweet (cultivated) to tart and tangy (wild), blueberries are nutritional stars bursting with nutrition and flavor while being very low in calories. Blueberries are the fruits of a shrub that belong to the heath (Ericaceae) family whose other members include the cranberry and bilberry as well as the azalea, mountain laurel, and rhododendron. Blueberries grow in clusters and range in size from that of a small pea to a marble. They are deep in color, ranging from blue to maroon to purple-black, and feature a white-gray waxy "bloom" that covers the berry's surface and serves as a protective coat. The skin surrounds a semi-transparent flesh that encases tiny seeds. Blueberries are at their best from May through October when they are in season.
Blueberries hold a special place in the foods of North America, since more species of blueberries are native to North America than any other continent. While low bush berries are native to other parts of the world — including Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia — high-bush berries were originally found almost exclusively in North America. To this day, the United States cultivates and supplies over half of all blueberries on a global basis. (The next largest percentage of world production — about 30% — also belongs to a North American country, Canada.) Among the 275 million pounds of blueberries grown in the U.S. (out of 550 million pounds grown worldwide), Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, and North Carolina are states most heavily involved in blueberry farming. Because of its special interest in low-bush blueberries, the state of Maine is actually the largest low-bush blueberry producer in the world.
Serving size: 100 grams
Protein: 0.75 gram
Fat: 0.33 grams
Carbohydrate: 14.5 grams
Dietary Fiber : 2.4 grams
Full of flavor, sweet and nutritious, a blueberry in season is one of summers greatest pleasures.
Fresh blueberries are delicious on their own and need no special preparation. However, they do go bad quickly, so it’s important to have a plan for using and storing them in order to minimize waste.