Nothing could be easier than combining ice cream with seasonal berries and tropical fruit and freezing. And nothing could be yummier to eat.
- Firm, blue, slightly acid berry.
- 75-150mm in diameter frosted.
- Dusted look called the ‘bloom’.
The blueberry is a shrub varying from 0.5 to 7.5m in height and may be deciduous or evergreen. It is a shallow rooted plant. Flowers are an attractive white or pink colour and can be bell-shaped or tubular.
Fruits form in clusters of five to ten berries. The berries ripen sixty to ninety days after full bloom. Mature berries change colour from green to red to blue.
Beautiful when served as part of a fruit or cheese platter or cooked in compote, blueberry pie or summer pudding.
Blueberries need to be grown in a climate with cool winters. The best-flavoured berries are produced where the summer nights are cool and days are warm and sunny. Late frosts will damage the young growth and flowers.
Blueberries require varying amounts of chilling During the winter months to induce dormancy and allow an even budbreak in the following spring. According to this chilling requirement, blueberries are loosely classified into high chilling types and low chilling types. The high chilling types include highbush and lowbush varieties with a chilling requirement from 600 to 900 hours between 2.5°C and 9°C. The low chill types include rabbiteye varieties and the low chill tetraploids with a chilling requirement of between 200 and 600 hours at 5.1°C to 14°C.
A well-drained acid soil is needed with organic matter content above 5%. Peat lands are ideal, provided drainage is adequate.
Blueberry plants have shallow fibrous root systems and so require supplementary irrigation throughout the growing season. Mature bushes require 25mm of rain per week for normal growth and as much as 38mm during fruit development. Insufficient water during fruit growth, particularly in the last 2 weeks of ripening, will result in small berries.
Adequate shelter is essential and, if not available naturally, windbreaks should be planted. Exposure to hot drying winds may cause desiccation of young shoots, resulting in dieback and shrivelling of developing fruits.
The timing of planting depends on the cultivar. Dormant high bush berries are best planted in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Early spring planting is preferable for the low chill cultivars, as this allows a full season’s growth before the following winter.
Pruning is essential to promote strong new wood, increase plant size and maintain high yields with large berries. Pruning is traditionally practised in late winter although plants can be pruned at any time from the end of harvest.
Blueberries are native North American fruits and are commonly found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Today blueberries are being grown in Australia and New Zealand.
Botanical Name: Vaccinium (Ericaceae)
A good source of vitamins A and C, containing some phosphorus, calcium, potassium and iron.
100g of Blueberries yields the following:
- Calories – 57
- Total Carbs – 5% of DV
- Protein – 0.74g
- Dietary Fibre – 10% of DV
- Vitamin A – 1% of DV
- Vitamin C – 16% of DV
- Calcium – 1% of DV
- Iron – 2% of DV
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Select plump fruit with good colour and fresh bloom. Always check the base of the punnet for juice leakage or mould.
Storage: Keep dry and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Use as soon as possible as blueberries are very perishable.