You may have all read last week that Blueberries have overtaken Strawberries to become the nations top selling fruit. This provoked a discussion in our household: What is a Blueberry? Where do they come from? Are they native to Britain? Do we know them under a different name? Blueberries are native to North American, so do not grow naturally in Britain, however they are a relative of the European Bilberry and have been grown in Europe since the 1920’s.
Blueberries are one of our ‘superfoods’ as they are an excellent source of vitamin C – just one serving contains about 25% of our daily requirement. They are also a good source of dietary fibre, and an excellent source of manganese, which plays an important role in the development of bones, and in the metabolism of protein, carbohydrate and fat. They also have one of the highest levels of antioxidants of all the fruits and have been shown to lower cholesterol in pigs!
But perhaps one of the biggest reasons why they have grown so popular is because they taste so good and are so versatile. Make them into Jam, put them in cakes or muffins, add a handful to your breakfast cereal or just eat them raw – every way is equally delicious.
Blueberries are very easy to grow. Just select a sunny sheltered site, fill a pot with ericaceous (acidic) soil and water well from the spring onwards. The blueberries will be ready to pick when they are a deep blue colour and fall easily away from the bush.
The two other fruits in the Suttons healthy berries collection are the more unusual Goji and Honeyberry.
Goji Berries, a native of China are nutritionally rich, containing beta-carotene, Vitamins C, B1, B2 and other vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids and the dried berries can be eaten raw or cooked. Their taste is somewhat similar to that of raisins.
The Siberian Honeyberry is member of the honeysuckle family. With a very similar in taste to Blueberries (though perhaps even sweeter) with the same high levels of antioxidants.