What is the difference between a cultivated (Highbush) and wild (Lowbush) blueberry?

The lowbush is grown in Northern Maine and parts of Canada. It is from a different plant, but part of the vacinnium family. Both are blueberries, both fit various needs of the food industry. For our promotions however, we represent only the "highbush" or "cultivated" or "improved" blueberries.

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What is the best way to add blueberries to my muffin batter and how much fruit should I add?

Blueberry muffins should contain 33% fruit, or one lb., of fruit for every two lb. of batter. Blueberries should be the last ingredient added to a muffin batter, just before the batter is poured into the muffin pan. Avoid over-mixing as it may cause breakage and color bleeding. Fresh, frozen or dried blueberries are the best forms of blueberries for muffins.

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Does size matter?

Blueberries plants were selected from the wild and they are natural. They produce berries of all sorts and different sizes. We call this naturally sized. Some food processors desire small berries, for items such as mini muffins and highbush blueberries do come in smaller sizes. Also, the smaller the berry, the more skin to flesh ratio exists. The skin is where the blue pigment is stored which has the anthocyanin and other beneficial substances. But, for most food processing uses, we recommend that you do not lock yourself into a berry size. Naturally sized berries are always the best!

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How do you properly freeze blueberries?

Freezing your blueberries is a great way to enjoy your fruit throughout the year. After you buy fresh blueberries, place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Be sure to not wash the blueberries before freezing. After they are frozen, transfer to an air tight plastic bag or freezer container and store. When you are ready to use your blueberries, take them out and wash prior to using.

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Are re-frozen blueberries okay after they have been thawed once or twice?

The blueberries are okay to use, but they will not have that great of a texture.

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Is there any way for me to ripen blueberries?

Place an apple in a bag with your blueberries. The ethylene from the apple will cause the blueberries to ripen faster.

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Why do different blueberries taste different?

Although all of our blueberries are highbush varieties, they actually come from a number of different varieties developed through selection and plant breeding. There are also a number of other variables, such as the time of harvest, location of plant, etc.

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How many blueberries equal one serving size?

Blueberries do come in a variety of size classifications, from small (190-250 per cup) to extra large (<90 berries per cup). One serving size of fresh blueberries is equal to one cup, or 140 grams. This contains 80 calories, with no fat, cholesterol or sodium. One serving also contains 5 grams of dietary fiber, 19 grams of total carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein.

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When are blueberries harvested?

The bulk of the season in California is harvested from April through June.

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How much anthocyanin can be extracted from a blueberry?

Everyone is asking this question today as we are learning more and more about the benefits of the blue pigment in the blueberry. But, the answer is not all that clear cut. You see, there are different levels of anthocyanin in different cultivars of blueberries. There is a misconception that the wild or lowbush blueberry contains more than the highbush. This is not true. Some highbush blueberries have very high levels of anthocyanin and some less. The same is in the lowbush. The "gold standard" of the anthocyanin levels is the European Blueberry, which is blue on the inside also. Here is the good rules for this determination made on totally unscientific calculations. Based on published research, highbush bluebrries contain approximately 125mg/100 g. Therefore, a method which is very efficient could yield no more than 0.12% of the fresh weight of the blueberry. It is unlikely that there could be 100% efficiency, therefore would expect yields more likely between 0.05 and 0.1% Our suggestion is to take the advice of the USDA Center on Aging and eat one half cup per day of blueberries!

All Frequently Asked Questions were provided by US Highbush Blueberry Council. Visit them at www.blueberry.org

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