- A bit of history
- History outcome
- Blueberry varieties
- Blueberries: properties and composition
- Blueberries: vitamins
- Blueberries: calories
- Useful properties of blueberries
- Blueberry contraindications
- How to store blueberries
- Preparation of infusion and decoctions
- How much blueberry should you eat
- How to keep berries for the winter
Gastroenterologist and nutritionist told how these delicious blueberries are useful and how to eat them better.
Blueberry is a small shrub that is 1 meter high. Belongs to the common heather family. Gray smooth curved branches distinguish the plant. The fruits are harvested for consumption, both raw and processed. This genus can safely grow in a garden or forest. You can make jam from them and use it for making wine, but more on that later. Consider what blueberries are, a description of the benefits of berries, what varieties are, which ones are best to use and what can be prepared.
A bit of history
The legend says that many centuries ago, one interesting and, at the same time, the sad story happened. Two brothers lived in the swamps: one had the name Bagul, the other – Veres. Once, the first brother said that he would soon bring a beautiful girl into the house, become his wife, and the second – his sister. This made Veres very happy because he would spend more time in nature – walking along with chisels, studying grass blades, listening to birdsong, and watching animals of those regions. The long-awaited day has come. The lady in the house, her name is Dearie. She looked like a reed; her eyes were large with a dark blue tint shone, but they were covered with tears.
Next to her stood a powerful, strong, imperious Bagul, against which she looked like a porcelain doll. He never offended his beloved, such was his nature: rudeness, reticence, and isolation – everything that is alien to Dove. So every day, she got up early and ran to do household chores. Quickly redoing everything around the house, she strove to Veres to the swamp to feel the wind. They looked alike, aspired to one another like two halves. Of course, they did not realize it, but it was nothing more than love – real and long-awaited. Bagul began to notice that his wife hugs and kisses him less often, hurrying to the swamps. And Veres began to avoid his brother, feeling guilty.
Quarrels broke out among the brothers, and one-day, Bagul’s hand swung at Veres. Seeing this, Darling could not stand it and ran to her native swamps. Her eyes did not see from tears. Therefore she did not notice how she approached the dangerous area. Large tears fell from her eyes, which, falling on the marsh moss, turned into blueberries, covered with a bluish bloom as if washed by tears. The plants shouted to her: “Stop, stop, you can’t …”, to which Dearie replied: “I’ll be with you, sisters.” And so she did. Remained in the swamps, turning into blueberries.
For its healing properties and taste, people call it marsh grapes. Unlike their evergreen sisters, blueberry leaves turn purple-brown in autumn and fall off in winter. The brothers noticed their beloved late’s disappearance, ran after her, and saw a scarf covering a bush. They understood everything, and for the first time, the courageous face of Bagul was sprinkled with tears. He stayed in the swamps to guard his beloved wife. Over time, they began calling it wild rosemary – a plant with a strong intoxicating aroma.
It looks the same, but this berry has no less varieties than apples.
It is an early variety. In early to mid-June, the berries become saturated and ripen in 3-4 weeks. The fruits of the plant are light blue in color; the pulp is dense and aromatic. The bush is lush, beautiful, perfect as a decoration for a garden plot. One thing it is sprawling – sometimes it is a big disadvantage for gardeners. It is important to consider that you need to prune branches constantly. At least 4-5 kg are harvested from one bush. Plants of this variety can withstand severe frosts (even 35 degrees), so they can be grown in the northern region. Among the disadvantages of the species, one can also distinguish quickly withering, especially in hot climates. It is also important to remember that the fruits immediately crumble after overripening, so you must collect the harvest on time. Concerning the diameter of the berry, it is 15-17 mm.
The variety is mid-season, appearing 50-60 years ago in America. The color of the berries is light blue; the size is large, the flesh is firm. A characteristic feature of this blueberry variety is its flattened shape. The plant is resistant to snow, heat, pests, viruses, and overripe. This is ideal for gardeners: minimum costs – maximum yield. The berries have an unusual and distinct taste. For the collection, you can get from 6 kg to 9 kg. Ripening ends by late July – early August.
The variety has a lush bloom in the spring, an excellent harvest in the summer, and a beautiful fire bloom in the fall. Berries of this type are distinguished by their juiciness and sweetness of taste, and rich, shiny color. The variety has one more strong side – it is very winter hardy. Blueberries can withstand temperatures as low as -34 ° C. These are best eaten fresh – by the way, they remain so long enough and do not crack even when they are overripe. The bush is up to 1.8 meters high. Fruits ripen at the end of July, and fruiting is usually excessive.
The diameter of this variety – attention – can reach 30 mm. Probably, this is the largest-fruited tall species that can be easily grown in a summer cottage. The fruits are aromatic, firm, and sweet. Plants ripen by the end of July – the beginning of August. The yield of the plant reaches 8 kg per collection. A distinctive feature of the variety is frost resistance.
This tall variety can reach 2.2 m in height. The fruits are not as large as in the previous species, reaching 20 mm in diameter. They have a delicate taste, do not crumble after-ripening, and do not crack. The bush of this multiplies easily, winters well while giving up to 9 kg of harvest per season, and does not cause any particular problems.
It is an old type of tall plant, tested by thousands of gardeners. The shrub is undemanding to care for and gives a stable harvest even at unfavorable times. Plants take root well in various types of soil and tolerate frosty temperatures well. Blueberries are resistant to diseases and viral diseases. The plant’s fruits are light blue in color, small in size, and round in shape. The variety has a pleasant taste; the berries make excellent jam, drinks, and pastries. Besides, the blueberry harvest of this variety is well stored and suitable for freezing. The berries ripen by mid-August, the yield reaches 6 kg.
Duke is very popular in America, which is his homeland. The plant is frost-resistant and bears fruit well. They bear fruit quite early – around the beginning to mid-July. The variety has excellent taste and a pleasant aroma. However, keep in mind that the bush’s yield is high, the branches can break off under the onslaught.
It means “North Country” because it is great for growing in the northern region. The plant can withstand temperatures up to -40 degrees. The minimum yield from the harvest is 4 kg. The fruits of the plant are not very large but very sweet, so they are ideal for fresh consumption; you can also make jams and preserves from them. Pests and diseases do not overcome the bush, which reaches a height of 1.2 meters. The second half of July is a standard time for ripening.
They thrive well in heavy soil, but it also develops well with proper care in other soils. They perfectly tolerate the winter period and are not afraid of late blight and stem cancer. The variety has an interesting feature during ripening, the fruits change their color from green to red, and at the last stage, they turn dark blue. The minimum yield is 4.5 kg.
This variety has an interesting feature: in ripening, the berries change color from green to red and only at full maturity acquire the usual dark blue color. The fruits ripen early – already in mid-July, they taste pleasant, sweet.
The variety got the name after the American Elizabeth White, the “progenitor” of the garden blueberry. The blueberry of this species is one of the leaders in taste and aroma. “Elizabeth’s” fruit is large, firm, and sweet – ideal for fresh consumption. The berries do not ripen all at once but within two weeks. From the merits of “Elizabeth,” one can single out the ease of reproduction from the negative aspects – poor development in sandy soil. The best soil is peaty.
Blueberries: properties and composition
The great benefits of berries are noted in medicine, cosmetology, and cooking. The substances necessary for the body are present both raw and boiled. Let’s figure out what berries contain and why they are so important for the human body.
- Niacin or nicotinic acid, and nicotinamide.
- Potassium is the main intracellular cation necessary for the functioning of all living cells;
- Calcium – healthy bones, blood vessels, hormonal metabolism, adsorption of trace elements, and transmission of nerve impulses;
- Magnesium – participates in more than 300 biochemical processes in the body;
- Sodium is an important trace element for the human body; the daily requirement for it for adults is 550 mg;
- Phosphorus is one of the most common elements in the earth’s crust.
In addition to vitamins and minerals, blueberries contain many antioxidants (mainly anthocyanins and polyphenols), which prevent the appearance of malignant tumors and diseases of the organs of vision, cardiovascular and endocrine systems.
- B1, thiamine – protects the body from the negative effects of smoking and not only, but more on that later;
- B2, riboflavin, also called the “beauty vitamin”;
- C, ascorbic acid – protection against the effects of viruses and diseases;
- E, alpha-tocopherol – a powerful antioxidant;
- RR, NE – recharge for the normal functioning of brain activity;
Blueberry juice is one of the most valuable in terms of vitamins and antioxidant properties. No other fruit or berry has so many beneficial elements, as we could see above.
The presentation of the calorie content of products per 100 grams is necessary for any person who follows the diet. The calorie content of blueberries is 35 kcal per 100 grams of the product. The best time to consume blueberries is in the morning. During this period, the body is in dire need of glycogen, which is responsible for the optimal level of glucose required for the brain’s functioning.
Useful properties of blueberries
Why blueberries are good for your eyes
Regular consumption of berries decreases eye fatigue threshold during prolonged viewing of films or reading literature, while subjective and objective symptoms improve. Japanese scientists have highlighted the effectiveness of berries in preventing and treating retinal detachment and age-related macular degeneration.
For the cardiovascular system
Blueberries lower blood pressure, according to scientists from England. The effect is on smooth muscles of several antioxidant substances present in its composition. It turns out that blueberries can be helpful to prevent early development, as well as to alleviate (along with drugs) hypertension. Berries reduce the risk of myocardial infarction by 35-40 percent.
Blueberries: beneficial properties, antioxidant
“Blueberries are the most powerful antioxidant,” said scientists at Cornell American University. Antioxidants are the most important substances in the fight against free radicals in the human body. Why fight them? It’s simple: they weaken human immunity, resulting from which the aging process of the human body is accelerating. They often cause various diseases, and cancer too.
Blueberries: how are they good for the brain?
Research shows that blueberries improve cognitive performance. With its high content of antioxidants and flavonoids, blueberries help heal damaged brain cells. Of course, blueberries alone will not be enough in the fight against Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease, but these beneficial berries can reduce these ailments’ symptoms.
Benefits of blueberries for type 2 diabetes
The berries for type 2 diabetes are necessary to alleviate the course of the disease. Berries can complement the effectiveness of drugs. The main feature of blueberries is to lower glucose levels and remove harmful cholesterol from the body. Besides, its correct use strengthens the immune system by replenishing vitamin and mineral reserves.
Despite the absolute benefits of this berry, there are several recommendations and restrictions.
Benefits and harms
Overeating blueberries is still not worth it. And the harm now lies not in allergies – an excess of antioxidants can be harmful to health, as it reduces the amount of oxygen entering the muscles.
It also increases blood clotting. It turns out that patients with diseases of the cardiovascular system should use blueberries with caution. The best option is to exclude it from the diet altogether, but it is often prescribed to reduce blood viscosity.
Low acidity is another contraindication for blueberry consumption. This is because the berries contain a large number of organic acids. Pregnant and lactating women should limit themselves from eating blue fruits. In general, you can eat it, but before that, consult with your doctor.
How to store blueberries
The season of this berry is not as long as many would like. So here are some helpful tips to help you enjoy blueberries all year round.
The berries are laid out in a container or tray with a layer of no more than 2 centimeters. In this form, blueberries must be sent to the freezer. It is advisable to set the “Super frost” mode on the freezer a couple of hours before. After about 5 hours, you can take out the container, pour the berries into a suitable bag, and return to the freezer. This is freezing berries in bulk.
You can grind the blueberries with sugar. To do this, you need to sterilize the banks in advance. This is followed by crushing the berries in an accessible way and passing the obtained through a sieve. The gruel should be diluted with sugar / granulated sugar (ideally) in a 1: 1 ratio and mixed thoroughly. The resulting mass is laid out in containers and sent to the freezer. At the same time, the entire vitamin composition is preserved.
You can store fresh blueberries at 17-25 degrees for no more than 4 days. And in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Berries can be in the freezer for a year, no further.
Preparation of infusion and decoctions
Tincture is a useful and tasty drug. To prepare it you will need:
- frozen blueberries – 0.5 kg;
- vodka or moonshine – 400 ml;
- zest of half a lemon;
- sugar syrup – 180 ml;
- cloves – 3 buds are enough.
You need to take a glass container (a jar is perfect), throw all the ingredients into it (you need to cut the lemon thinly), and fill it all with vodka or moonshine. A month later, it would help if you got the infusion and get rid of the cake. Then boil a simple syrup (add sugar to taste) and put it in a dark place for 25-30 days.
How much blueberry should you eat
Despite the low-calorie content of blueberries (39–45 kcal per 100 g), you shouldn’t eat it in kilograms. The norm is 1-2 glasses of berries per day. Like any berries and fruits, blueberries are best to eat in the morning, especially for overweight people.
There are no strict rules for the consumption of this berry. The nutritionist says it is good to use it as a stand-alone product or in combination with other food ingredients.
Blueberries go well with dairy products (cottage cheese, yogurt), ice cream. It can also be used as a casserole component, mousses, smoothies, and other light desserts.
How to keep berries for the winter
Despite the growing availability of berries, the price for it still “bites.” In winter, it is imported from abroad at all, so its price rises significantly. To save money and have a high-quality, useful, and relatively affordable product even in winter, take care of it right now.
Blueberries are one of the best berries for harvesting for the winter. The best option is to freeze it.
Check out this video on how to make the delicious blueberry ice cream: