blueberriesThe original and ultimate superfood, this berry is bursting with antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins which makes them the perfect addition to porridge for breakfast, taken to work as a mid-morning snack or even added to a mixed grain salad in the evening.

Different blueberry varieties are found all over the world, but the culinary blueberries we eat today owe their origins to several North American species.  Wild blueberries provided an important food crop for the Native American tribes that the earliest European colonisers came across in the early 1600s, and it wasn’t long before the settlers began using blueberries themselves.

Did you know…?

  • You can freeze blueberries and they’ll still retain all their antioxidant properties. Perfect for adding still-frozen to your morning porridge!
  • Native Americans called blueberries ‘star berries’, because the five points of the blueberry blossom makes them look like stars
  • Everyone knows blueberries are great for humans, but did you know you can freeze them and give them to dogs as a crunchy, healthy treat?
  • Doing some DIY this weekend? Try mixing blueberries with boiling milk to make grey paint, like American colonists!
  • Blueberries are one of the only natural foods that are truly blue in colour. Can you think of any others?
  • They increase the brain’s production of feel-good dopamine – a natural neurotransmitter than makes you cheerful!

British blueberries are available from June until September and the start of the season usually features the Duke variety. To guarantee local fruit can be supplied in late September, growers have planted special varieties for full flavour and a greater shelf life, which include:

  • DUKE
  • BLUECROP CHANDLER
  • DARROW
  • DRAPER
  • LIBERTY
  • OZARK BLUE
  • AUROR

Blueberries are now grown as far north as North-East Scotland on the same latitude as the Gulf of Alaska.  It’s the temperate climate created in Scotland by the Gulf Stream that allows this apparent miracle of nature, and means British blueberries are available into September. From then on, they will be from Argentina, Spain, South Africa and Chile:

blueberry_chart

And their health credentials aren’t bad either…

Blueberry nutrition