THE FOOD SERIES: Blueberries
Before discovering this high raw, high carb, plant-based lifestyle, my all time favourite fruit were blueberries. Simple to eat, easy to take on the go, and are super sweet, juicy and delicious!
The gorgeous blue jewels range from mildly sweet to tart and tangy flavours. Blueberries are fruits of a shrub that belong to the same family as cranberries and bilberries. They grow in large clusters and can vary from blue to purple-black to even maroon. Blueberries are in season from May through October.
The two most common species of blueberries are the highbush and lowbush blueberries. Highbush blueberries are the most common and is what we often see and purchase in stores. Whereas lowbush blueberries are also known as wild blueberries in which they are more tart and tangy in taste and are often found grown closer and lower towards the ground. The size of lowbush blueberries are also smaller.
Highbush berries are found in North America, while lowbush berries are native to Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia.
The US cultivates and supplies over 1/2 of all blueberries on a global basis. Next largest is Canada with 30% of world production.
One cup of blueberries:
21.4 g carbs
3.6 g fiber
0.5 g fat
1.1 g protein
28.6 ug Vitamin K
14.4 mg Vitamin C
0.5 mg manganese
203.9 mg phosphorus
One thing I would like to discuss about blueberries is their phytonutrient content. Phytonutrients unlike other nutrients like vitamins and minerals are not essential (meaning we don’t NEED them to keep us alive) however, phytonutrients provide a variety of desirable health benefits such as disease prevention. In terms of phytonutrients in the plant itself, it is a source of protection where it protects the plants from germs, fungi, bugs and other potential threats.
The phytonutrient that is often associated with blueberries are anthocyanins which are the colourful antioxidant pigments that give the shades of blue, purple and red in foods. There are also numerous of other phytonutrients that are found in blueberries and together give blueberries their tremendous antioxidant support, cardiovascular benefits, blood sugar stability, cognitive benefits and so much more. Anthocyanins in particular are particularly beneficial for the eyes.
WAYS TO ENJOY
In addition to enjoying blueberries, fresh and raw, there are other ways I love to consume them.
In the summer, I love going blueberry picking and freezing them so I will have blueberries in stock for the rest of the year. Frozen blueberries can easily be added into daily smoothies. So easy and delicious.
All you have to do is freeze blueberries and blend them in a high-speed blender and that’s it.
As a topping
If you are familiar with the foods that I tend to make you will know that I love making nice cream bowls, pancakes, oats, etc. One of my favourite things is to top these dishes with blueberries. It gives it that extra crunch and texture, as well as that extra sweet, slightly sour combination which is to die for.
Similarly as a topping… jams often are filled with refined sugars and other unnecessary ingredients and preservatives so I like to make my own jam. Blueberry jam is one of my favs. I have a video on how I make mine HERE!
- One of the few fruits native to North America. More species of blueberries are native to North American than any other continent.
- Maine is the largest lowbush blueberry producer in the world.
- The pale, powder-like protective coating on the skin is called “bloom”.
- Between June and September, there are almost 20 blueberry festivals throughout the US and Canada.
- Blueberry consumption have tripled since 1995.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES / REFERENCES