Wild Blueberries – Nature’s True Delight
August has arrived and wild blueberries are getting ready to dazzle us. Thanks to favourable weather throughout April and May, the wild blueberry harvest across the country is shaping up to be a bountiful one. As such, Canadians’ favourite small fruit will soon be well stocked in markets and grocery stores across the province.
Savoured as is or added to recipes, wild blueberries offer a myriad of options. Mix them with plain yogurt, maple syrup and a few ice cubes to obtain a nutritious and refreshing wild blueberry smoothie; whip up a wild blueberry sauce to enhance your barbecued rack of lamb; or sprinkle them on a crispy salad for a quick, summer-style dish. Adding a little blue to your cooking is both easy and tasty. In order to enjoy this little blue wonder for as long as possible, you must hone your preservation skills. If you choose to keep your wild blueberries in your refrigerator, place them in a hermetically sealed container and make sure to remove any damaged fruit to avoid spoilage. If your want to freeze them, simply dry them on a paper towel before placing them in a freezer-friendly bag to preserve their flavour. A quick wash before use and you’ll be ready to go.
Make the most of blueberry season by checking out one of the many blueberry fields open to the public and signing up for a pick-your-own session with friends, family or all by yourself. Remember that the wild blueberry harvest usually starts during the first week of August and lasts roughly four weeks.
The super small fruit
It’s not only tasty, sweet and juicy, it’s also good for you! Studies are unanimous: wild blueberries boast a stronger antioxidant effect than all other small fruits. It is therefore no surprise that they are lauded as providing many health benefits linked to the prevention of various cancers, aging and cardiovascular diseases. A single cup (250 ml) of this super fruit contains 87 calories, 4 grams of fibre and 45% of your daily intake of vitamin C. There’s definitely a lot to like! As such, there’s no excuse in denying yourself the pleasure of savouring wild blueberries, available harvest-fresh in August and in the frozen foods section, for a healthy choice year-round.
A few home-grown highlights
Wild blueberries have become the country’s foremost fruit crop. Today, more than half of Canada’s fruit-growing land is taken up with blueberries.
Wild blueberries are exported to over 24 countries, including the United States, Japan and Germany, where there are very popular as much for their exquisite taste as their health benefits. Indeed, of the 15,619 tonnes of wild blueberries exported in 2009, 57% ended up in the United States, 12% in Germany and 7% in Japan.