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BLUEBERRIES. Kelly Fitzgerald Graphics : Varieties

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Kelly Fitzgerald


  • Cultivated blueberries: This is the variety found most often in a supermarket. These berries are marble-sized, round and plump, and have a deep blue color and whitish, dusty-looking surface.
  • Wild blueberries: Wild blueberries are far more rare. You may find them sold fresh locally (they grow in cool climates such as Maine and eastern Canada), but more often they are available canned or frozen. They are much smaller than the cultivated variety. There are 1,600 wild blueberries to the pound, compared to 500 cultivated blueberries. Wild blueberries have a chewy, dense texture and deep flavor.


history of
History of….
  • Blueberries have been around for thousands of years. Explorers noted the existence of these berries on their expeditions. Lewis and Clark found that Indians in the Northwest Territory smoked wild blueberries to preserve them for the winter.
  • Blueberries come from the genus family Vaccinium. Blueberries are low in calories and sodium. They contain no cholesterol, and are an excellent source of fiber. The pectin content within the fiber has been proven to lower blood cholesterol.
  • In 18th century Germany, blueberries were soaked in water to make syrups. The syrups were then used in a wide variety of treatments such as coughs, diarrhea, gout, rheumatism, relief for symptoms of typhoid fever, as a diuretic, prevention against scurvy, and a mouthwash to soothe mouth ulcers.
  • Graphic:

more history
…more history
  • Blueberries were not cultivated until the beginning of the 20th century. They became commercially available in 1916. Frederick Coville, a botanistat the United States Department of Agriculture, pioneered research into blueberry production.
  • There are approximately 30 different species of blueberries with different ones growing throughout various regions. Some examples are the Highbush variety, found throughout the Eastern seaboard from Maine to Florida, and the Lowbush variety, found through the Northeast and Eastern Canada. The Evergreen variety can be found Pacific Northwest states.


quick facts
Quick Facts…
  • Michigan and New Jersey produce 66% of all the blueberries in the United States, followed by North Carolina and Oregon/Washington.
  • Maine produces about 25% of all the blueberries grown in North America (1998,  wild and cultivated combined) and is the largest producer of WILD blueberries in the world.
  • Blueberries are the second most popular berry in the United States. There has been a 50% increase in consumption of blueberries during the last 10 years.
  • Over 200 million pounds of blueberries are grown in North America every year.


wild blueberries
Wild Blueberries
  • Tip: "Go Wild. The USDA says blueberries from the great outdoors have twice the antioxidant power of their cultivated cousins."

Mark Harris, Vegetarian Times, 2005


  • Antioxidants are best known for their potential to protect against oxidative cell damage caused by free radicals within our bodies. Potent antioxidants found in blueberries fend off free radicals. Oxidative cell damage can lead to diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer and heart disease. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of blueberries have been linked with anti- aging protection as well.


Anthocyanin, an antioxidant found in high capacity in blueberries is the phytonutrient responsible for the berry’s deep blue color. Blueberries are packed with anthocyanidins, which neutralize free radical damage to the collagen of cells and tissues that can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, heart disease and cancer.


Anthocyanins improve the support structures in the veins and entire vascular system. Anthocyanins have been shown to enhance the effects of vitamin C, improve capillary integrity, and stabilize the collagen matrix.

antioxidant comparison
Antioxidant Comparison
  • Blueberries emerged as the top antioxidant capacity fruit in a laboratory testing procedure called ORAC - Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity developed by the USDA*. ORAC has become the definitive measurement of antioxidant capacity.*Source - Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 44:701-705; 3343-3426, 1996; 46:2686-2693, 1998
  • (including graphic)

  • The ORAC Leader
health benefits
Health Benefits


“The blueberry has emerged as a very powerful food in the aging battle. Given the possibility that blueberries may reverse short-term memory loss and forestall other effects of aging, their potential may be very great ”

-James Joseph, Ph.D, Chief of the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center

•Cancer Prevention

Blueberries are among the healthiest foods you can eat. Their high concentration of antioxidants combat the free-radical damage that can lead to cancer.

In addition to their powerful anthocyanins, blueberries contain another antioxidant compound called ellagic acid, which blocks metabolic pathways that can lead to cancer.

Blueberries are also high in the soluble fiber pectin, which has been shown to lower cholesterol and to prevent bile acid from being transformed into a potentially cancer-causing form.


•Urinary Tract Health

Research at the Rutgers Blueberry Cranberry Research Center in Chatsworth, N.J., found that blueberries promote contain compounds that prevent the bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall, helping to prevent urinary tract infections.

•Vision Health

The high concentration of the natural compound anthocyanin found in blueberries has many benefits including reducing eyestrain and improving night vision.

  • Graphic:

Serving size 1 cup (145g)




  • Eat them right out of the freezer
  • Add blueberries to pancakes, waffles and muffins
  • Toss blueberries into cereals or salads
  • Make a smoothie
  • Mix them with yogurt or ice cream

*All it takes is a half-cup of blueberries to deliciously satisfy one of your recommended 5 A Day servings.


Domestically grown cultivated blueberries are available from May through September or October. At other times of year, you can find imported blueberries in stores.

The wild blueberry season is short, and the berries are not shipped much beyond their growing area. Look for canned or frozen berries, if you live in an area that doesn’t grow them wild.

About 95 percent of cultivated blueberries consists of Northern highbush varieties



Wild Blueberry Walnut Bran Muffins

  • • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (can substitute with half whole wheat flour for slightly denser and healthier muffins)• ½ cup sugar• 1 tablespoon baking powder• ¼ teaspoon salt• 1 ¼ cup fat-free milk• 2 cups bran cereal (such as All- Bran)• 1 lg. egg or 2 whites• 1 teaspoon vanilla• ¼ cup vegetable oil (such as Canola oil)• 3 cups Wild Blueberries• 1 ½ cups walnuts• 3 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
  • In large bowl, combine bran cereal and milk. Let stand about 5 minutes or until softened.
  • Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Add egg and oil to softened cereal mixture and mix thoroughly.
  • Add flour mixture, stirring only until just combined. Do not beat. Fold in walnuts. Gently fold in Wild Blueberries.
  • Portion evenly in 12, 2 ½-inch muffin tins coated with cooking spray.
  • Can sprinkle each uncooked muffin with 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar if desired.
  • Bake in preheated 375 degree oven 25-30 minutes. If frozen berries are used, add 5- 10 minutes to cooking time.
  • Nutritional Information Per Serving: 1 muffin (optional brown sugar not included)
  • 280 calories; 16 g fat; 1.5 g saturated fat; 0 trans fat; 20 mg cholesterol; 190 mg sodium; 36 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 6 g protein; 45% calories from fat; Vit.A 6% DV, Vit.C 6% DV; Calcium 15% DV; Iron 20% DV
wild blueberry smoothie
Wild Blueberry Smoothie

• 6 ounces (180g) Wild Blueberries (fresh or frozen)

• 6 ounces (180g) yogurt (vanilla or blueberry)

• 1 tablespoon honey (if plain yogurt is used)

• 1/2 cup ice (3 ice cubes)

-Blend well at high speed. Serve immediately.

Maine Wild Blueberry Soup

•4 1/2 cups blueberries

•1 Cup Pinot Noir

•¼ Cup Honey

•Vanilla crème fraîche for garnish

•In a food processor, combine the blueberries, Pinot Noir, and honey;

blend until the mixture becomes smooth, do not strain. Chill the soup before serving.

Garnish each soup bowl with Vanilla crème fraîche.

Nutritional analysis per serving: calories, 234; fat, 5g; cholesterol, 0 mg;

fiber, 4g; protein, 2g;

website links
Website links



Ask the berry man. No Publication Named. Retrieved September 23, 2005, from

Benefits of blue. No publication named. Retrieved September 23, 2005, from

Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2005). 5 A Day: Fruit of the Month: Berries. Atlanta, GA.

Fruit and Vegetable Encyclopedia Online: Blueberries. Retrieved September 23, 2005, from

Lose weight, live linger with superfood like wild blueberries. Vegetarian Times (1). Retrieved September 23, 2005, from

Nature’s number one antioxidant fruit. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, (1). Retrieved September 23,

2005, from

World’s Healthiest Foods (2005). Blueberries. Retrieved September 23, 2005, from

Wild blueberries are summer’s healthy choice. Cooking Light, (1). Retrieved September 23, 2005, from

Wild blueberry recipes. No Publication named. Retrieved September 23, 2005 , from