Cultivated blueberries; blue gold from Quebec !
Lovers of berries love blueberries from Quebec. Greatly appreciated by young and old, the blueberry was once prized by Native Americans who, even then, attributed therapeutic properties to the tiny blue fruit. Surpassing the cranberry, raspberry, strawberry and blackberry for its content of antioxidants, the blueberry is a goldmine of nutrients!
Blueberries are a small part of the Ericaceae family. Blueberries that are grown in Quebec are called highbush blueberry or giant blueberry. We distinguish the cultivated species of larger size and the wildlife species (also called lowbush). The cultivated blueberry comes from a variety of wild blueberries. In the 1930s, American researchers have selected the most vigorous plants of wild blueberries, and then, by hybridization, have been developing varieties that produce bigger, sweeter and stronger fruits. The term corymb, from greek korumbos (bouquet), refers to the position taken by flowers and fruit clusters which, unlike grapes do not ripen all at once. In Quebec, though a few producers in south-west of the province grow it for 40 years, it is only recently that this culture has flourished. At present, there would be 300 companies engaged in the production of highbush blueberries.
This small, very nutritious fruit is simply delicious! Available from the middle of July, blueberries can be grown until the end of September. The highbush blueberry is grown mainly in Montérégie and in the regions of Centre-du-Québec and Chaudière-Appalaches. It is in soft, sandy soil that blueberry plants grow best. As the roots of blueberry plants are rather fragile, softer surfaces such as sandy soils, allow them to sneak up and get water and nutrients needed for growth.
The pleasures of self-picking!
The U-pick blueberries, like that of other fruits and vegetables, is growing in popularity. Educational activities for children, self-picking is perfect for a successful family day. The U-pick blueberries can also allow us to choose fruits that match perfectly to our tastes in terms of color, size and maturity.
Nutritional facts !
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is essential for an optimal health. In addition to providing vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals essential for good health, a diet of large amounts of fruits and vegetables can also significantly reduce the risk of suffering from several diseases.
According to the Canadian Nutrients File, 125 ml (1/2 cup) of fresh blueberries contains 44 calories, 11g carbohydrates, 0.3 g fat and 2 grams of fiber. Source of vitamin C and potassium, the blueberry is also appreciated for its very high level in antioxidants.
The blueberry is one of the richest aliment in phenolic compounds. Its high concentration in flavonoids, specifically anthocyanins, explains its purple-violet colour. Mainly grouped within the skin of blueberries, anthocyanins would have surprising powers. Science attributes to these components a role in the prevention of many chronic diseases. These antioxidants may also slow the effects of aging, particularly linked to the memory-related disorders as well as coordination and balance. As for proanthocyanidins, other components of the antioxidant power contained in blueberries, they confer, like the cranberry, the power to prevent urinary tract infections.
The blueberry, for a nutritious and colourful cooking !
The blueberry bright colour and sweet flavour contributes to match perfectly with many other kind of food.
- Blueberries are great when added to cereal and yogurt in a healthy breakfast
- Jellies, jams and blueberry coulis add color and flavor to our menu!
- Blueberries enhance the nutritional value of our desserts: cookies, muffins, cakes, etc..
- Dare to combine blueberries with meat ... The blueberry is perfect to go with wild meat
- Smoothies are very popular during summer...Consisting of milk, fortified soy beverage or yogurt, a smoothie containing blueberries is a cocktail of nutrients!