Concerning U.S. fruit consumption, blueberries snag a close second place behind their half-cousins: their equally sweet strawberries.
No surprise there. Besides bringing a tart, juicy taste to just about any dish - or when simply gobbled by the handful - these little guys are packed with nutritional benefits.
Oozing with antioxidants (essential for our lifelong “cellular structure vs. free radicals” showdown), containing Vitamin C and chock-full of Manganese, blueberries are your best-bet approach to fusing flavor with long-term “function.”
Fun fact: even the berry’s biggest fans have probably only sampled a few varieties. Turns out, there are dozens of cultivars of this budding shrub.
(Note: a cultivar is a sub-variety. For example, SunGold or Roma are tomato cultivars.)
These bite-sized delights stem from perennial bushes, of which there are three main types:
Highbush, Lowbush & Half-High (a hybrid). The large, juicy blues that you’re probably popping as you peruse the Barn2Door marketplace (shameless self-promotion!) are likely Highbush cultivars, while smaller ‘wild’ ones that are harder to come by are likely the Lowbush cultivars.
In case you want to 'sing' the blues, consider these cultivars:
Duke: Considered the best early season blueberry, expect a mild, sweet flavor from medium-sized, light blue fruit.
Spartan: A large, firm, flavorful berry that ripens early in the season.
Bluecrop: The most commonly planted cultivar for mid-season ripening. This medium-sized, firm blueberry is known for its flavorful punch.
Northland: Another mid-season blue, Northlands are known to be dark-colored, soft and medium in size. This frost-tolerant plant is frequently found in colder climates.
Rubel: The most common ‘wild variety.’ A small, dark, flavorful fruit harvested mid-season.
Elliott: A medium-sized, light-blue fruit that ripen late in the season. Also offers an excellent shelf life, storing for up to a month under refrigeration.
Chandler: These large berries bring great flavor, and produce sets of fruit that ripen periodically over six weeks, rather than all at once. The blues that keep on singing (couldn't resist).
Aurora: An excellent fruit that ripens very late in the season.
All this talk of berries—perhaps tuck them into a recipe? We’ve sourced a few of our favorite, blueberry-infused dishes for your culinary inspiration:
- Breakfast: Back to School Blueberry Coffee Cake by Pink Patisserie
- Lunch: Herb Salad with Blueberries, Lemon-Poppy Vinaigrette & Warm Goat Cheese Croutons by Healthy Delicious
- Snack: Fresh! Or Berry Newtons by All Day I Dream About Food
- Dinner: Blueberry Ginger Salsa with Fresh Grilled Halibut by Karista’s Kitchen
- Live in Western Washington? Shop blueberries directly from Hazel Blue Acres or Mount Baker Berry Company