Blueberry facts may not be as appealing as blueberries but we assure you that this article will certainly blow your mind.
Blueberries are not only tasty but they are highly nutritional as well. They have a unique blue color which is rarely seen in fruits.
Let’s begin our awesome blueberry facts without waiting and let’s learn what this small berry holds for us.
However, before jumping straight to blueberry facts, just go through this quick table.
Blueberry Facts: History of Blueberries
Blueberry belongs to the genus Vaccinium.
The species of the Vaccinium genus are widely distributed in Europe, North America, and Asia.
Blueberry is typically from North America. There are two broad types of blueberries – lowbush and highbush.
Lowbush blueberries or wild blueberries found especially in the northeastern United States of America and Atlantic Canada.
Highbush blueberries or cultivated blueberries can be found in many states of the US and British Columbia.
First Nations of Canada consumed wild blueberries before the Europeans colonized North America.
New Jersey was the first state to cultivate highbush blueberries at the beginning of the 20th century.
Interestingly, native blueberry species of North America are grown in Australia, South America, and New Zealand.
Many wild varieties are also found in Europe. The names of these varieties all more-or-less translate to “blueberry” names in the English language.
Species and Varieties of Blueberries
According to two books – Flora of Brunswick and Plants of the Pacific Northwest coast mention the following species and varieties of blueberries.
Vaccinium boreale – It is also known as northern blueberry. This variety is seen in areas like Labrador and Quebec.
Vaccinium formosum – It is also known as southern blackberry
Vaccinium pallidum – It is popularly known as dryland blueberry.
Vaccinium simulatum – Another name of this variety is upland highbush blueberry.
Vaccinium hirsutum – It is also known as hairy-fruited blueberry.
Vaccinium elliottii – It is popularly known as Elliott blueberry.
Vaccinium fuscatum – Another name of this species is Black highbush blueberry.
Vaccinium angustifolium – It is also known as lowbush blueberry. This variety is seen from Labrador to Manitoba and many parts of the US.
Vaccinium caesariense – Another name of this variety is New Jersey blueberry.
Vaccinium darrowii – It is also known as evergreen blueberry.
Vaccinium corymbosum – It is popularly known as northern highbush blueberry.
Vaccinium myrsinites – Another name of this variety is shiny blueberry.
Vaccinium tenellum – It is also known as southern blueberry.
Vaccinium myrtilloides – It is popularly known as velvetleaf, Canadian blueberry, or sour top, etc.
Vaccinium virgatum – It is also known as rabbiteye blueberry.
Other than these 15 species, there are 3 other blue-color species of Vaccinium which are Vaccinium koreanum, Vaccinium uliginosum, and Vaccinium myrtillus.
Cultivation of Blueberries
Blueberries are perennial flowering plants. It produces purple or blue-colored berries.
The genus, Vaccinium also includes cranberries, bilberries, Madeira blueberries, huckleberries, etc. along with blueberries.
Blueberry plant is a shrub with a height from 10 centimeters to 4 meters.
A single flower bud produces 5 to 6 flowers. Wild or lowbush blueberries grow well in acidic soil and require a moderate amount of moisture.
The shrubs can tolerate cold very well. The average weight of wild blueberries is 0.3 grams.
The fruit production of wild blueberries depends on pollination, soil fertility, plant diseases, water availability, etc.
Cultivated or highbush blueberries grow well in sandy or loam soils.
Flowers are in the shape of a bell. The flowers are white, red, or pale pink or tinged green.
The blueberry, as mentioned earlier, is a berry. The fruit is around 5 to 16 millimeters in diameter.
The fruits are pale green at first, then turn to reddish-purple, and eventually turn to dark purple (when they are ripe).
The fruit is covered and protected by a waxy epicuticular layer known as bloom.
Wild blueberries usually reproduce by cross-pollination.
The berries have a sweet taste with little acidity when they are ripe.
The time of harvest is in the months from May to August.
Lowbush blueberries are smaller than the cultivated ones.
One of the weirdest blueberry facts is that wild blueberry plants are burned every two years.
Soil pH is extremely important for the proper cultivation of blueberries.
Production of Blueberries
As of 2018, the USA is the major producer of blueberries. It produced 255,050 tons of blueberries in 2018 alone. The USA makes up 37% of the global production and Canada makes up for 24% of world production.
British Columbia produces 93% of the Canadian cultivated blueberry in 2019.
The next top countries in blueberry production are Canada (164,205), Peru (94,805), Spain (43,516), and Mexico (40,251).
The total production of blueberries in 2018 saw a 14% increase in the total production of 2017.
One of the fascinating blueberry facts is that New Jersey’s Hammonton is termed as the Blueberry Capital of the World!
Hammonton alone makes up 80% of the total New Jersey’s production of blueberries.
Atlantic Canada produces half of entire North America’s wild blueberries production.
Blueberry is the official provincial berry of Nova Scotia, a province in Canada.
Nova Scotia and Oxford are known as the Wild blueberry capital of Canada.
Cultivated blueberries were introduced into several countries of Europe such as Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, etc. in the 1930s.
Later the blueberries spread to several European nations such as Romania, Italy, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Hungary, etc.
It was in the 1950s that Australia, New Zealand, etc. countries of Southern Hemisphere were introduced to the delicious blueberries.
Consumption and Health
Blueberries can be eater either fresh or they can be processed as puree, infused or dried berries, juice, jellies, jams, muffins, snack foods, etc.
Did you know that wine can be made from blueberries? Yes, just like grapes, blueberries are fermented to make blueberry wine.
Lowbush or wild blueberries are usually used to produce blueberry wine.
They are low in calories and extremely healthy. What more do you want from a fruit?
Carbohydrates, dietary fiber, proteins are present in adequate quantities in blueberries.
Vitamins like vitamin K, C, and a mineral Manganese are also present in sufficient quantities in blueberries.
Blueberries also contain vitamin B6, E, and a mineral, copper.
Apart from these, blueberries are also rich in plant compounds like quercetin, anthocyanin, myricetin, etc.
Research suggests that blueberries are extremely beneficial and healthy for the heart.
Not just that, eating blueberries regularly especially older people consuming blueberries will decrease age-related brain diseases.
Studies suggest that eating blueberries also improves brain functioning.
Did you know that eating blueberries and strawberries can reduce brain aging by two and a half years?
Blueberries are low in calories and contain low amounts of sugar which makes it a healthy choice for diabetic patients.
The plant hormones in blueberries have a positive impact on blood sugar levels.
Allergies to blueberries can happen when eaten in large quantities but such allergies are rare.
General Blueberry Facts
Blueberries rank number one in the health benefits of antioxidants when they were compared with 40 other fruits and berries.
People are eating blueberries since 13,000 years ago.
A plant hormone, anthocyanin, gives the blueberries their characteristic blue color.
Did you know that a single blueberry shrub can produce almost 6,000 blueberries?
National Blueberry Pie Day is celebrated on 28th April every year.
National Blueberry Muffin Day is celebrated on 11th July every year.
As the blossoms of the blueberries resemble stars, native Americans called blueberries as star berries.
There are five major varieties of blueberries in the US – they are rabbiteye, southern highbush, northern highbush, lowbush, and half-high.
Blueberries are used to make gray dye. They are boiled with milk to produce a gray color.
Blueberries can last up to 60 years given the conditions are favorable for the shrub.
Highbush blueberries are mostly eaten fresh whereas lowbush blueberries are used for processed or frozen foods.
This brings us to the end of our article on fantastic blueberry facts. If you want to share some other fascinating facts about blueberries or you want us to write on some other fruit or topic, then just drop a comment and we will respond for sure!