Blueberry Facts, Picking Tips, Canning Directions
2010: Crops are great this year, all over - no late frost!
Blueberries are one of the easiest fruit to prepare and serve.
Thereís no peeling, pitting, coring or cutting. They have few natural pests,
(other than birds), so pesticides are generally unnecessary!
plump, full blueberries with a light gray-blue color. A berry with any hint
of red isn't fully ripened. White and green colored blueberries will not
ripen after they are picked; while blueberries that have already turned purple,
red or blue-ish usually DO ripen after they are picked (if they are kept at room
temperature to ripen).
Since blueberries hang on the bushes in bunches a but like
grapes do, the easiest and fastest way to pick them is hold your bucket under
them in one hand and with your other hand, cup a ripe bunch and gently rub them
with your fingers. The ripe berries will drop into your bucket, while the
unripe ones will remain attached to the bush. I can easily pick 2 gallons per
hour (if I'm not being distracted by the kids and the sun isn't too hot!).
A newbie might do 1 gallon per hour.
Blueberry Measurements and Conversions
Keep in mind that blueberries vary in density and moisture
content, so these ranges are approximates.
Once picked, don't place the berries, still
warm from the sun, in a closed bag or container. Leave the container open so
moisture doesn't form in the container.
wash berries until just before using to prevent berries from becoming mushy.
berries soon after picking to increase shelf life. If refrigerated,
fresh-picked blueberries will keep 10 to 14 days.
berries in freezer containers without washing to keep the skins from
toughening. Place berries one layer deep. Freeze, then pour the
frozen berries into freezer containers.
Because unwashed blueberries freeze individually, they can be easily poured
from containers in desired amounts. Remember both frozen and fresh
berries should be rinsed and drained just before serving.
Just before using, wash
the berries in cold water.
Blueberries are ranked No. 1 in antioxidant activity compared with 40 other
commercially available fruits and vegetables. That means a serving of
blueberries has more of the antioxidant power you need to fight aging,
cancer and heart disease.
Put this in your pipe! Indians in the Northwest Territory smoked wild blueberries to preserve them
for the winter. (Bet you didn't know that!)
- Want to grow your own blueberries? Here's an article about how
Blueberries in the Home Garden, HYG-1422-98
- Weights and measures: 1 cup of blueberries
normally weighs about
143 grams, which about 1/3 of a pound, so 1 pound of blueberries is almost 3
cup's worth. Of course, this can vary considerably based on the variety,
weather conditions and degree of ripeness. Typically, many recipes call for
3 to 4 pounds of blueberries for a 9 inch pie.
Nutrition and miscellaneous facts: 1 cup (143
grams) of blueberries is 84 calories (technically, kcal).
Blueberries contain no cholesterol or fat and are also low in calories. Blueberries are high in dietary
fiber, Vitamin A and niacin. They contain iron and other trace minerals and
are a fair source of Vitamin C. Blueberries have a diverse
range of micronutrients, with notably high levels (relative to respective
Dietary Reference Intakes) of the essential dietary mineral manganese,
vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fiber (table below). One
serving provides a relatively low glycemic load score of 4 out of 100 per
Especially in wild species, blueberries contain anthocyanins, other
antioxidant pigments and various phytochemicals possibly having a role in
reducing risks of some diseases, including inflammation and different
cancers. Blueberries may have anti-disease effects, too. Researchers have
shown that blueberry anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, flavonols,
and tannins inhibit mechanisms of cancer cell development and inflammation
in vitro. Similar to red grape, some blueberry species contain in their
skins significant levels of resveratrol, a phytochemical with increasing
evidence as an anti-cancer compound.[source: Wikipedia]
Blueberry nutritional values, raw
Percentages are relative to US
recommendations for adults.
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 60 kcal 240 kJ
USDA Nutrient database
Canning and freezing the blueberries:
If you have trouble with blueberries settling to the bottom of muffins and
blueberry breads, try one or more of these tips:
- Coat them with flour before adding to the batter. Just gently shake the
blueberries in a bag (plastic or paper) with 1/2 cup of flour, then dump
them mix in a sieve to remove excess flour.
- It may just be that your batter is too thin. try making the batter a
- Fill the muffin cups or baking pan up to 1/4 full with batter (which
hasn't had blueberries added to it yet); then stir the blueberries into the
remaining batter, and continue to fill the muffin cups or bread pan. The
blueberries will start off higher in the mix!
The US Highbush Blueberry Council hasn't updated their blueberry
festivals page in 2 years, so I researched, added to, updated it, and put the
current information on a new page -
click here for the blueberry festivals
Blueberry Questions and Answers
Q. We would like to purchase some blueberry
plants and plant them this November. Where can we purchase some nice size
A. There are 4 options:
Being shallow rooted, blueberry bushes are constantly
sending shoots off the side roots. These well started planted shoots can be dug
with a generous portion of root and replanted. Just be sure: get
plenty of root, mulch and fertilize annually and water sufficiently, especially
the first year. Replant in late fall or early winter. Cut off about 1/3 of the
shoot so the root system matches the top. Find a friend with a blueberry patch
and help yourself!
Big box store (Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart)
Free shoots dug from a neighbors plants
Iíve been very disappointed with the blueberry bushes I ordered from mail
order nurseries Ė the plants were tiny (6 inches or so). The ones at my
local Wal-Mart usually looked pretty pathetic. In my experience, Lowes and Home Depot usually
have big (2 ft tall) healthy plants that are suited to your local climate.
Beware mislabeled plants - I've purchased plants from big box stores which
were not the variety on the label, although that was peaches and apples, not
The local nurseries often have nice stock, but my local
nursery's prices were pretty high, unless I wait for an end of season sale.. Iíve been
happy with the oneís at Loweís and Home Depot!
Q. My Mom always told me to put my freshly picked blueberries
into a bowl of water. She said the ones that float have bugs in them or are bad.
How can I tell if this is true?
A. Thatís just an
old wivesí tale. Some float because they are less dense, which may be due to
a variety of causes, only rarely because a bug is inside. The only pest Iíve
heard of getting inside a blueberry is the blueberry maggot, which affects
some plants in the north eastern US and parts of Canada.
Here are the
detect the presence of the pest in blueberries, according to the Ontario
Ministry of Agroculture
Methods for Detecting Blueberry Maggot Larvae in
Hot Water Test
- Place 1 litre (2 pints) of berries in pot.
- Nearly cover the berries with water.
- Bring berries and water to a frothy boil and boil
for at least 1 minute.
- Empty berries into a 4-mesh-per-inch screen.
- Gently crush berries in screen with the back of a
- Rinse berries with cold running water and collect
water and solids in a pan with a black bottom.
- Allow the debris to settle and Decant floating
solids and most of the water.
- Repeat washing and Decanting until water is clear.
- White maggots will be visible against the black
bottom of the pan.
Brown Sugar Test
Sugar concentration = 2 lbs (1 kg) brown sugar per 1.2
gallons (5 litres) of water.
- Place 1 litre (2 pints) of berries in a 4-litre (1
- Gently crush berries in container.
- Add sugar concentrate to 3 cm above crushed
- Agitate crushed berries in sugar solution.
- Allow maggots to float to surface.
Home Canning Kits
- Everything you need to get started with waterbath
canning (fruits,pickles, jams, jellies, salsa, sauces
- 21-1/2 qt. enamel water bath canner
- Funnel, jar lifter, lid lifter, bubble freer
- Ball Blue Book
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also s simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if your want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
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