Growing and Enjoying Blueberries

Growing Blueberries

If I could find Blueberry Hill, I’d be thrilled.  We used to pick wild blueberries in the forest near our summer cottage in Northern Ontario.  I have tried to plant blueberry bushes a few times in my country yard, and while the bushes grew, I neglected them for a few weeks in the hot weather, and lost them, never getting to harvest their delicious berries. 

The shrubs are available in our garden centres in the spring, and even in those small supermarket garden displays. I am currently perusing garden catalogues so that I can plant some in my yard. I think that I may plant them along my fenceline in my small rockery/herb garden. Highbush blueberries will likely survive in my zone 6 garden, with lowbush being more cold hardy for a more northern garden.

Photo by Olga on Pexels.com

The plants will survive best in rich soil which is acidic. Their roots are typically fine, and so they need the soil to be well prepared – loose and enriched with compost and possibly peat moss. They will survive part shade – but sun is best so that they will flower and fruit fully.

Now I may have left my blueberries without water in the past and lost them – but they do not like to sit in wet ground either – so good drainage is important! My previous yard was both marshy in the spring and dry in the summer, so they did not receive enough attention from me.

Buying Blueberries

There are different varieties of blueberry bushes growing naturally around the world.  The blueberries that we tend to buy commercially are native to North America.  Blueberries are better for you purchased fresh, but it is certainly handy to have them on hand in frozen form.  A recent study showed that frozen blueberries had much lower levels of the anthocyanin delphinidin (a flavonoid) than fresh.  Wild lowbush varieties of  blueberries are more nutritious than highbush berries.  However, just because something is labelled as wild doesn’t mean it hasn’t been sprayed.  That label can mean that the berries are of the lowbush variety, but they can still be sprayed! So wild does not mean organic.  For example an American study of domestic blueberries found 42 different pesticides on domestic blueberries!

Growing blueberries in the garden, buying blueberries, blueberry nutrition and enjoying blueberries
Photo by veeterzy on Pexels.com

So if you can find fresh, locally grown organic blueberries buy them!  I will still enjoy my frozen blueberries in the winter here, and I will try to buy organic frozen.  In smoothies, on my cereal, in my yogurt and in blueberry pie.

Blueberry Nutrition

Blueberries contain Vitamins K and C, manganese, fiber and copper.  They also are rich in anthocyanin which is an antioxidant.  It has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve blood vessel function and slow mental decline with age.

A study showed that rats fed blueberries, had reduced abdominal fat and lower cholesteral.

Other studies showed that blueberries reduced breast cancer tumors in mice and slowed the spread of the disease.   So if you are a rat or mouse, I’d recommend blueberries.  As a human, needing to reduce abdominal fat and cholesterol, and wanting to avoid cancer I’m trying to eat them daily as part of my diet.

Blueberry Bread Pudding

When fresh organic blueberries are not in season, I do typically keep a package of frozen blueberries in my freezer. I typically enjoy them with plain yogurt, on my cereal, and I make a blueberry preserve. I make a mean blueberry pie, but that’s a lot of trouble for everyday – so I make blueberry bread pudding, and blueberry bread quite often to get the rest of the family to eat blueberries! I will share these recipes soon.

Blueberry Bread Pudding Recipe https://gardenlove.food.blog/2019/11/11/blueberry-bread-pudding/

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