Ever wondered where blueberries come from? Like to know the scientific names of these juicy little beauties? You’ve come to the right place.
The local blueberry industry
As Australia’s love affair with blueberries grows, our growers respond in kind. Last year, Australian farmers grew 17,000 tonnes of fresh blueberries with an approximate farm gate value of $A300 million.
75% is sold fresh within Australia 10% is exported to Asia and Europe 15% is processed, mainly as frozen product
Fresh Australian blueberries are available from July to April with the peak availability in October to February.
Blueberries belong to the Ericaceae family, genus Vaccinium – a large family of woody shrubs that loves acidic soils and can be found throughout the world.
The blueberry is the most famous – and tasty – berry in the Vaccinium genus.
Others you may have heard of include the bilberry, cranberry and ligonberry.
Then there are the sparkleberry, farkleberry, whortleberry and partridgeberry.
Imagine adding a handful of farkleberries to your muesli each morning!
Blueberries have three common varietal families: lowbush, highbush and rabbiteye.
Lowbush blueberries – This variety, which produces a big harvest of intensely flavoured blueberries, is not grown in Australia’s milder climate. It thrives in colder climates in the northern hemisphere.
Highbush blueberries – This is the most common variety in Australia, with many cultivars suited to the Australian climate. The two most popular cultivars grown here are the Northern Highbush and the Southern Highbush. Just to confuse things, the Northern Highbush is grown in Victorian, Tasmania and Southern NSW; while the Southern Highbush is grown in milder regions like Northern NSW and Southern Queensland.
Rabbiteye blueberries – This is another late season variety, which can endure warm and humid summers and tolerate dry conditions like no other, making it right at home in Northern NSW and Queensland.
Blueberries are one of the few truly blue foods on earth
Blueberry juice was used as a purple dye for cloth and baskets
In Ireland, baskets of blueberries are still offered to a sweetheart to celebrate the original fertility festival of Lammas Day on August 1st
Blueberries can be used in a DIY-hair mask to help encourage hair growth. Combine with a dash of olive oil, apply, rinse and repeat for longer gorgeous locks
In the United States July is actually National Blueberry Month – a whole month dedicated to blueberries!
Blueberries freeze in just 4 minutes in -18 degrees C
Just one cup of fresh blueberries contains 25% RDI of Vitamin C
According to the University of Maine in the USA, the state of Maine produces more fresh blueberries than anywhere else in the world!
The blueberry bush is a relative of the rhododendron & the azalea
April 28th is National Blueberry Pie Day in the US
July 11th is National Blueberry Muffin Day
The white, powdery substance on fresh blueberries is called “bloom.” Bloom indicates that the berries are fresh