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All about “Blueberry”

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Nutritional value of blueberries

Raw blueberries 125 ml (1/2 cup) / 80 g
Calories 44
Protein 0.6g
Carbohydrates 11.1g
Fat 0.3 g
Dietary fiber 2.0 g
Glycemic load No data available
Antioxidant power  Very high

Sources  : Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File, 2010.

Blueberry health profile

Whether wild or cultivated , fresh, frozen or juice, these beautiful blue fruits are especially rich in vitamin C . Champions of antioxidants , their consumption would prevent several diseases .

The benefits of blueberries

  • Cancer . A study has shown that extracts blueberry and bilberry had activities antioxidant – so cancer – the highest compared to those of other berries (strawberry, cranberry, raspberry and elderberry) 7. Bilberry extract is said to be the most potent for inhibiting the growth of leukemia cells as well as colon cancer cells 8 . The flavonoids of blueberries and blueberries could also play a protective role against certain cancers. Blueberry would even genes by preventing the generation of certain mutations causing cancer 9 .As observed in the laboratory, wild blueberry, raspberry and cranberry juices are said to slow the growth of human cancer cells (stomach, prostate, intestine and breast) 15 . Blueberry extracts could also have a preventive effect against breast cancer by reducing the proliferation of cancer cells 13 , 14 and the incidence of tumors 14 . Although these studies were performed in vitro , the doses of blueberry extracts used represent realistic portions for humans, approximately ¾ cup (185 ml, 120 g) of fresh blueberries per day for a 60 kg person 13 .
Antioxidant champion
Among some twenty fruits, blueberries rank first for their total antioxidant capacity 11 . Closely followed by cranberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. Don’t hesitate to color your plates with this little fruit to help your body fight free radicals . Wild blueberries are said to have an even higher antioxidant capacity than cultivated blueberries 12 .
  • Cardiovascular illnesses. Clinical and epidemiological studies indicate that the consumption of flavonoids in food and drink can decrease the risk of atherosclerosis , a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases 4 . Phenolic compounds in blueberries help to slow the onset of cardiovascular disease by reducing the oxidation of blood lipids, the effects of oxidative stress (leading to cell death) and inflammation of the vascular system 16 .Adding blueberries to a plant-rich diet in animals has lowered cholesterol levels. According to the researchers, blueberries act in synergy with plants, such as soybeans, oats and barley, and improve the blood lipid profile 17 . No study to date has demonstrated such an effect in humans, but the authors suggest that with equivalent doses, approximately 2 cups (500 ml) per day, the observed effects could occur.
  • Diabetes . Studies conducted at the University of Montreal have shown that fermented wild blueberry juice has anti-diabetic properties 18 . This juice would protect against the development of diabetes or glucose intolerance . It would also prevent hyperglycemia in diabetic mice and the development of diabetes and obesity in pre-diabetic mice 19 . Another study concludes that blueberry powder added to a high-fat diet provides protection against insulin resistance and hyperglycemia . 21
  • Aging-related disorders . Blueberries could have an effect on balance and coordination disorders 1 , but also provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection 3 . Fermented blueberry juice could help prevent neurodegenerative diseases by protecting neurons from oxidative stress 23 . Blueberries could help reduce the progression of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, for example. Human and animal studies have shown that drinking blueberry juice improves memory tasks 22 , 24. Adding blueberry extracts to animal diets would also prevent the decline of cognitive functions and may even improve them 25 , 26 .
  • Urinary tract infections. An in vitro study has shown that a specific fraction of blueberry flavonoids can prevent the bacterium Escherichia Coli (the cause of urinary tract infections) from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract 6 . However, no clinical study has confirmed the effect of actual consumption of blueberries on the prevention of urinary tract infections 27 .

What does blueberries contain?

Antioxidants
The flavonoids are antioxidants more powerful of blueberry . They are involved in the neutralization of free radicals in the body, thus helping to prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and various chronic diseases. The flavonoids of blueberries have been shown in vitro to provide protection against oxidation and inflammation of blood vessels 5 .

Among the most important flavonoids in blueberries are proanthocyanins and anthocyanins , the content of which increases with the degree of ripening of the fruit 16 . The latter are the main instigators of the hypoglycemic activity of blueberries, but other compounds could play a role 20 . Blueberries also contain catechins , a variety of phenolic acid, with an antioxidant effect . 16

Main vitamins and minerals

Vitamin C Blueberries are a source of vitamin C.
Potassium Blueberries are a source of potassium.

Recipe ideas

with blueberries
  • In morning cereals .
  • Blend frozen blueberries with ice cubes, pineapple juice and a banana. Enjoy it cold.
  • Make a coulis that can be used to coat a cheesecake or any other dessert of your choice.
  • In jams , in fruit salads, sorbets, ice cream, granita.
  • In pies, cakes , muffins, pancake batter, waffles, etc.
  • In French Haute Ardennes, we prepare tcha-tcha . It involves crushing fresh blueberries with sugar and spreading this preparation on toast.
  • Dare this amazing salad composed of blueberries, short pasta , green grapes, strawberries, sections of oranges and slivered almonds. Sprinkle with a vinaigrette, if possible with blueberry vinegar. Or, combine short pasta, blueberries, celery, red pepper, diced chicken, snow peas, red onion. Season with parsley and basil and drizzle with red wine vinaigrette.
  • You can prepare pleasant little cold bites by mixing melted chocolate with dried blueberries, grated coconut and pieces of nuts. Shape dumplings with the preparation and put them to cool on a plate.
  • In Scandinavia, it is a soup to be savored very hot, during the cool evenings of autumn.
  • You can stuff blueberries seasoned with sugar with quail or small chickens .
Blueberry smoothie
  • They can also be passed, fresh or frozen, in a blender with soy milk, yogurt or vanilla ice cream.
  • Blueberries go well with meats, especially game . Boil blueberry juice with wine until nine-tenths is reduced. Add the veal stock, salt, pepper and, just before serving, add blueberries to the sauce.
  • Make a chutney , mixing them with dried cranberries and onion, and seasoning with vinegar, sugar, minced ginger, cinnamon, lemon zest, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
  • You can make a fine vinegar by macerating them for a fortnight in white wine vinegar. You can use this vinegar in salads or in the kitchen to deglaze a pan.
  • In kir , syrup or blueberry liqueur will pleasantly replace blackcurrant liqueur.

The little story of blueberries

To access other recipes, you can go to the CuisineAZ.com cooking recipes site, which offers, among others, the following recipes: blueberry jam, blueberry crepe, blueberry recipesCommon names  : blueberry or blueberry.
Scientific name  : Vaccinium spp 
Family  : ericaceous.

The term ”  blueberry  “, which appeared in the language in 1380, is simply derived from ”  blue  “. In France, this word designates the blue-flowered centaury , while in Quebec, it designates the fruit of a parent species of blueberry. The term ”  blueberry  “, which appeared in the language in 1565, comes from the Latin myrtillus, derived from myrtus, “myrtle”, a small fruit tree . The term ”  lingonberry  ” is a generic word which designates one or the other of the many species of shrubs carrying edible berries.

Blueberry or blueberry?

The blueberry is native to Eurasia and the western coast of North America, while the blueberry is native to North America. However, the genus Vaccinium , which is very old, could originally come from a more restricted territory. It would have quickly dispersed in various directions, probably helped in this by birds, great lovers of small berries. Anyway, the plant has become extremely diverse over time, since there are now a few hundred species. Many give edible berriesmore or less tart. They must have brought joy to a multitude of generations of hunter-gatherers, both in Asia and in Europe and America, from the Arctic to the tropics.

Certainly, blueberries have always been harvested by the natives of North America. They ate it raw or cooked, made it from pemmican , preserved it in animal fat or even dried it for consumption in winter. In the same way, in Europe, he supported the Nordic peoples, including the Lapps, during the long winter months by providing them with energy and vitamins at the same time.

Due to their special needs (acid and wetlands) and abundance of wild resource, the blueberry and bilberry have been domesticated very late, at the beginning of the XX th  century. There are many cultivars today , some of which give larger fruit. They are grown in the field or, as is the case in Quebec, in the forest, on cleared strips of land alternating with forest strips.

The ancient Greeks knew the blueberry to which they lent various medicinal properties . In the Middle Ages, the leaf and the berry were prescribed to cure various ailments. These uses fell into disuse with the advent of the modern pharmacopoeia. However, the discovery in recent decades of the role that antioxidants play in human health has revived the interest of researchers for this plant and for its cousin, blueberries . As a result, their culture has greatly developed, particularly in the United States and Canada. These 2 countries alone supply nearly 90% of world production.

Large-scale wild blueberries
In Quebec , wild fruit picking continues to be practiced on a large scale in areas where logging has recently been carried out or which has been burnt down. The pickers sleep in the forest, under the tent or in temporary shelters. Often, whole families engage in this activity for a whole month. Blueberries are one of the few wild berries that give rise to real commercial activity .

Organic gardening

The mulch of wood chips (8 cm to 15 cm thick) is commonly used in large-scale cultivation of blueberries because it inhibits the growth of weeds and to have acidic soil. However, in the home garden, pine needle mulch is recommended because it is more effective than the others. Indeed, blueberries particularly cherish large pine forests. It is assumed that the needles of this tree promote the symbiotic relationship that the shrub establishes with the mycorrhizae, microscopic fungi present in the soil and which it needs to grow.

The kingdom of blueberries
In Quebec, the inhabitants of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean are friendlyly called “Blueberries” , the fruit abounds there. The great fire of 1870 which devastated two thirds of the region is believed to be the source of the multiplication of blueberry plants.

pH: 4.2 to 5.5. To acidify too alkaline soil, sulfur is applied to the surface, one year before planting, with one application in the spring and one in the fall. Peat moss can also be added to the soil , but it should not be forgotten that it is in fact a non-renewable resource and that it is better to reduce its use.

Plant in a light soil, rich in organic matter , preferably in a log or flower bed from 30 cm to 35 cm high. Space the plants 1m to 1.5m and the rows 2.5m to 3m.

Plant at least 3 varieties to promote pollination .

In areas where winter snowfall is frequent, install a windbreak to hold snow.

Fertilization: blueberries mainly need nitrogen . Manure and compost are not necessarily desirable for this type of culture, preferably feather meal, fish or dried blood.

Promote the presence of bumblebees , the best blueberry pollinators , by leaving heaps of branches or rocks near the plantation or by sowing plants that will attract them, such as phacelia.

It is essential to irrigate , because the blueberry has few rootlets which allow plants to draw water.

Against bird raiding , install nets over the plants.

Harvest the fruit when it is a beautiful deep blue .

Ecology and environment

Dark pigments very useful for the plants themselves

The anthocyanins in which the blueberry is particularly rich constitute antioxidants of first choice for the human being. But, what about from the standpoint of the plant itself? Researchers asked themselves this question and decided to study the role that these substances play in blueberries and other plants that are rich in them. Anthocyanins seem to have the function of protecting the plant against attacks of all kinds – heat, cold, intense light, wounds, insects, etc.

In addition, since they are water soluble, anthocyanins could also regulate the movement of water in the tissues and limit evaporation caused by dry wind or heat. They could also lower the temperature at which the water in the cells freezes, acting as a natural antifreeze.

It has also been observed that ants that “grow” microscopic fungi never bring back pieces of red leaves in their “gardens”, suggesting that anthocyanins may have antifungal properties .

Others, finally, think that these substances could play a role similar to that of the colored plumage of the tail of the male in certain species of birds. During love displays, the female will always choose the male with the most flamboyant colors, because this would be an indicator of the health of her future partner. Likewise, by flaunting its red colors, the tree or shrub would send the message to predatory insects that it is capable of countering their attacks and that therefore they would do better to attack its less colorful congeners.

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