Blueberries are a source of vitamins and valuable medicinal plants. It is difficult to assemble without damaging, and even harder to save. In the North, blueberries are traditionally stored in birch bark boxes, bay fish oil and buried in moss. In general, blueberries are eaten fresh, because it is in fresh berries that the concentration of nutrients is highest.
Blueberry berries have a number of unique properties: they protect against the effects of radioactive radiation, strengthen the walls of blood vessels, normalize the functioning of the heart, support the health of the intestine and pancreas, and slow down the aging of nerve cells, and therefore the brain. In addition, blueberries have anti-scorching, choleretic, anti-sclerotic, cardiotonic, hypotensive and anti-inflammatory effects. Effective with atherosclerosis, hypertension, capillary toxicosis, rheumatism, sore throat and other diseases associated with insufficiency of blood capillaries.
Blueberry berries are recommended for diabetics, as they promote tissue repair, enhance the effect of drugs that lower blood sugar levels, and increase metabolism. Dry blueberries are sometimes brewed as an antidisenergic remedy (brew 1 spoonful of berries for 15 minutes in a glass of boiling water).
Blueberry leaves also contain nutrients, but in slightly smaller quantities. In folk medicine, a decoction of branches with leaves is drunk for heart diseases, a decoction of leaves is like a mild laxative.
With regular use of the berries relieve eye strain and contribute to the restoration of vision.
Blueberry juice is given during fever, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, as well as to enhance the secretion of gastric juice. Blueberry berries are recommended for people working in hazardous conditions, as pectic substances are able to bind and remove radioactive metals from the body.
Blueberry has been found to contain a significant amount of phyllohionin (vitamin K1), which is involved in the blood coagulation system. As well as high blueberry berries are useful especially for older people to maintain (activate) vitality.
There is evidence that blueberry prevents the formation of cancer cells, because it contains a large number of highly active antioxidants.
Store berries at temperatures from 0 to + 4 ° C to 2 weeks, at -15 ° C and below during the year. It is important to tightly close the container with berries to protect from foreign odors.
Blueberry is low-calorie (61 cal / 100g wet weight) and is a dietary product.
Blueberries consist of:
- 88% water
- 8% sugar
- 1% protein
- 1.6% organic acids (benzoic, citric, malic, oxalic, acetic),
- 1.2% fiber,
- 0.5% tanning, coloring and pectin substances (these are the substances that remove heavy radioactive elements - strontium and cobalt).
Contains: carotene, provitamin A, ascorbic acid, flavonoids, all B vitamins, vitamins K, P and PP (which ensures the elasticity of skin capillaries and reduces the risk of varicose veins). Blueberries have 6 essential amino acids. A small (compared to other berries) iron content in blueberries is compensated by its almost complete digestibility.
Dangerous properties of blueberry
It is important to use blueberries in moderation, as there is a high content of antioxidants, which in large quantities can disrupt muscle function, as they prevent oxygen from entering the muscles.
It is necessary to use blueberries carefully for pregnant and lactating women, as it contains substances that cause intoxication and allergies in the child.
Blueberries are also contraindicated in biliary dyskinesia, as its excessive use in this case can lead to an exacerbation of the disease.
Think what to cook for dinner? Try this vegetarian recipe from quinoa, blueberries and pecans.
What is useful for women blueberries?
Blueberries are useful for women with anemia. Although the iron in the berry is not very much, this is offset by the fact that it is absorbed from it 100%.
In addition, it is important for a woman to consume blueberries if she has a predisposition for varicose veins. The unique composition of the berries allows you to maintain the veins and small blood vessels in a tone, to maintain their elasticity and strength.
It is good to include blueberries in the diet of women during menopause, as regular consumption of berries contributes to slowing the aging process in the body.
The composition of the blueberry is as follows:
A mixture of organic acids - 1.6%,
Pectin, tannins and dyes - 0.5%.
Calorie per 100 grams of fruit is not high at all and is 61 kcal. The berry contains a whole range of vitamins and minerals, including: carotene (0.29 mg), ascorbic acid (16 mg), a complete list of B vitamins (B1 - 0.02 mg, B2 - 0.02 mg), vitamins K, PP and R. There are iron in blueberry (0.8 mg), phosphorus (13 mg) and calcium (16 mg).
Organic acids that are present in blueberries are represented by the following set: citric, acetic, oxalic, benzoic, malic acid.
How to store blueberries?
Blueberries are very difficult to collect without damaging the integrity of the berries. But even harder to collect the berries to save. So, in the North, the fruits are put in bark bolls, poured with fish oil and buried in the moss. Thus, the inhabitants of the North have been keeping the berry for many centuries.
Of course, in order to preserve the berry in an urban setting, you must put it in plastic containers and close the lid tightly. Keep containers in a freezer at -15 ° C. Thus, the berries will remain fit for consumption throughout the year. It has been established that frozen berries do not lose their nutritional and healing properties. Therefore, it is possible to subject the fruit to deep freezing. But for this you need to choose ripe, intact berries with whole skin.
It is important that before freezing, the berries should not be washed, otherwise their skin will become too hard. It is best to freeze the fruit in small portions, this will avoid thawing a large number of blueberries.
In a refrigerator at a temperature of from 0 to +4 blueberries can be stored for two weeks. But at the same time it is important to pack the berry tightly so that it does not absorb extraneous odors.
Contraindications to eating blueberries
Despite all the beneficial properties, there are also contraindications to the use of blueberries, among them:
The use of blueberries in large quantities. Failure to follow the recommended doses may result in a malnutrition of the muscles with oxygen, which will lead to a malfunction in their functioning. Such a negative effect occurs due to the high content of antioxidants in the berries.
Blueberries are an allergenic berry, so it should be carefully offered to children and people prone to allergic reactions. In addition, the use of blueberries can provoke intoxication of the fetus, therefore, it should not be included in the menu for pregnant women, as well as mothers who are breastfeeding.
Biliary dyskinesia is an absolute contraindication to the use of berries. If this recommendation is not followed, then an exacerbation of the disease can be provoked.
If you use berries in large quantities increases the risk of diarrhea, flatulence and bloating. This is due to the fact that blueberries have a laxative effect on the intestines.
Blueberry jam recipe for winter
To make blueberry jam for the winter, you need to take a kilogram of berries and four cups of sugar. Spoiled and unripe berries, leaves, and stems are not suitable for making jam, so they need to be removed.
Sorted fruits are placed in a colander and thoroughly washed under warm running water. After all the remaining water is drained, the berries should be laid out on a dry towel. While the fruits are drying, you should do the preparation of the syrup. A glass of water and the prepared sugar are poured into the enameled bowl, after which the mixture is brought to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula. When sugar is dissolved, the syrup must be removed from the stove and allowed to cool.
The berries are placed in a syrup at room temperature and put on the stove again, putting a small fire on it. After boiling, preserve the jam on low heat for half an hour. In sterilized cans, blueberry jam is poured hot, then closed with sealing lids. Keep this jam should be in a dark and cool place.
Expert Editor: Kuzmina Vera V. | Dietician, endocrinologist
Education: Diploma RSMU them. N. I. Pirogov, specialty "General Medicine" (2004). Residency at the Moscow State University of Medicine and Dentistry, diploma in "Endocrinology" (2006).
A small shrub, fruiting blue berries. The plant is a source of flavonoids, tannins, vitamins and minerals. Useful properties of blueberry ordinary known official and traditional medicine. Doctors recommend to use the berry to improve the work of the visual apparatus, as well as a vitaminizing and tonic remedy. Folk healers - to normalize the work of the stomach, liver, cardiovascular system. However, the plant is so rich in nutrients that can beneficially affect the work of the whole human body.
Blueberry bushes are considered particularly valuable - they live long, hardy, however, they love moisture and high-quality soil. According to scientific information, the plant can bear fruit for the first time only for the 50th year of its development. Because of this, in the culture of blueberry ordinary is not so often, but its natural thickets are very popular. The first fruiting and good harvest is often preceded by a cool and rainy summer.
The shrub grows in cold and temperate climates of the tundra and forest-tundra zones throughout the northern hemisphere. The western borders of the range stretch from Iceland to Great Britain, the eastern - from the Far East to Japan.
It is also distributed along the tundra belt of Russia: in Siberia, in the Urals, in the alpine zones of the Caucasus Mountains, the Murmansk region. It is found in rare coniferous and deciduous forests, on rocks, in gorges, on peatlands.
Blueberry is a perennial volumetric bush, formed by the active division of young shoots. It reaches a height of 1.5 m. It is characterized by the following features.
- Roots. Long fibrous root system.
- Stems. Ascending, straight, branched. Young shoots of green. The branches are covered with dark gray or brownish bark.
- Leaves. Located on the branches alternately. Blueberry leaf plate is distinguished by its density and rigidity, has an elliptical shape, and reaches a length of 3 cm. The solid edges of the leaf tilt slightly down. On top of the sheets have a dark green color, bottom - bluish-green, due to the bluish wax bloom. Each leaf is attached to the branch with a short scape. In autumn the leaves turn red, then fall.
- Bloom. Starts in June and July. Presented by white-pink or white jug-bell-shaped flowers located in the axils of the leaves on last year's branches. Each flower is attached to the branch of the drooping pedicle. The aroma when flowering is subtle.
- Fruiting. Common blueberry fruits actively in August. Fruits up to 1.5 cm in diameter, spherical or oval in shape, covered with thin skin. A uniform wax coating gives the berries a bluish-blue color and serves to protect the berries. The flesh is pale green - juicy, with a sweet and sour taste and a faint aroma. Inside the fruit contains numerous light brown bones.
Raw material harvesting methods
Blueberries are harvested as medicinal plant raw materials in three stages. When the plant is actively flowering, stocked up with leaves and tops of young shoots.
- We find the right. Good solid leaves, as well as the tops of the green shoots neatly break off or cut with scissors.
- Preparing At home, they are laid out in the sun for half an hour to hang on. Transferred to a shaded place, thinly laid out on a paper or cloth cloth, dried to complete drying, stirring occasionally.
- We keep. For storage use paper or plastic bags, the raw material is placed in a dry dark place, stored for two to three years.
Harvesting berries by using a comb. She combed the branches, collecting berries in the basket.
- We collect. After picking the berries, they must be picked, removed, dried, rotten, immature fruits.
- Mine The prepared raw material is washed with cold running water. It is very important not to mash the berries, try not to wipe the wax off of them.
- We keep. To freeze blueberries, it is laid out on paper towels and periodically turned over until complete evaporation of moisture. Dried fruit spread in one layer on a baking sheet, frozen for three hours, then poured into a container. For complete drying, a thin layer of washed berries is laid out on a sieve. Place them in the shade under a canopy, in warm attics with a metal roof or in dryers (adhering to a temperature of 40 ° C). Periodically turn up to complete drying of the fruit. Storing dry or frozen blueberries is not recommended for longer than a year.
Dried fruits are packed in dry containers or bags, stored in a dry dark place with good ventilation.
The healing properties of blueberries are manifested in different ways, depending on the part of the plant used, because the chemical composition of fruits and leaves with shoots is different. The leaves are a source of flavonoids (quercetin and its derivatives with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties). Contain non-cyclic carbons and alcohols. Also, shoots and leaves are rich in tannins, known as anti-inflammatory and astringent substances. The composition of the fruit is wider.
- Sugary compounds. Presented mono - and disaccharides. They make blueberry nutritious food, a source of fast energy.
- Plant fiber. Normalizes digestion, intestinal motility activator, natural adsorbent.
- Acids. Lemon, apple, benzoic, oxalic. Affect the metabolism, increase the acidity of the stomach, have antimicrobial properties.
- Phenolic acid. Protocatechin, lilac. Activators of oxidative reactions. Metabolic stimulants.
- Catechins. Epicatechin, epigalocatechin. They have a hypolipidemic effect, increase the susceptibility of body cells to insulin produced. They are powerful antioxidants.
- Flavonoids. Quercetin, myricetin, rutin, isoquercetin. Possess cardio and vazoprotektornymi properties, regulate metabolic processes, gently eliminate high blood pressure.
- Atocyanins. Delphinidin, Malvidin. Collagen stimulants, antioxidants, free radical neutralizers.
- Pectins. Characterized by adsorbing and enveloping properties. They remove toxins, salts of heavy metals, including cobalt and strontium.
- Minerals Sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium. Necessary to maintain the balance of electrolytes, the normal state of bone tissue. They take part in humoral regulation, are involved in the mechanism of transmission of nerve impulses.
- Vitamins. Vitamin C, B1, P, PP, A. The participants of the metabolism, help to improve the skin, nail hair, have antioxidant properties, ensure the health of capillaries, the production of many hormones.
- Tannins. They have an astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory effect on the mucous membranes.
Juicy blueberries are actively used by chefs. Of them prepare jam, jam, fruit drinks, fruit drinks, jelly, jelly. Fans of homemade drinks to get the liqueurs insist on vodka berries or leave to ferment - in the end you get an unusual blue wine.
Blueberry berries are very fond of beauticians. Fruits saturated with antioxidants help to improve the tone, eliminate the wen, narrow pores, reduce the oily skin, remove the pustular and acne rash. From mashed into fruit gruel obtained masks for the face. When mixing blueberry juice with dairy products, moisturizing and anti-aging products are obtained. Blueberry extract is added to an external means for weight loss.
Who is harmful
The composition of blueberry ordinary, saturated with chemicals, can bring many benefits. However, the use of berries and preparations of the plant requires some caution.
- In diseases of the digestive tract. The ability of berries to increase acidity and stimulate the production of digestive juices is inappropriate with increased acidity and gastric ulcer.
- In diseases of the gallbladder. The choleretic effect of blueberry is incompatible with biliary dyskinesia.
- With blood diseases. Berry improves clotting, which is dangerous with a tendency to thrombosis.
- When pregnancy. There are a lot of biologically active substances in blueberries, so for women who are expecting a baby, it is better to use fruits in moderate quantities. With lactation is to abandon the blueberry berries.
It is extremely useful to use fresh blueberries. For example, in diabetes, as a tonic and to improve vision, it is recommended to eat 300-400 g of fresh berries daily. It is undesirable to combine the use of blueberries with dairy products, because milk violates the absorption of nutrients. For therapeutic purposes, you can use the following recipes.
Infusion of fruit
Features It is used to improve the gastrointestinal tract, as well as the urinary system (cystitis, urethritis, pyelonephritis).
Preparation and use
- Dried blueberries in the amount of 20 g, pour a cup of boiling water for an hour.
- Use a quarter of a glass with an interval of three hours to relieve or completely eliminate symptoms.
Decoction of leaves
Features Blueberries are used instead of laxatives for chronic and episodic constipation.
Preparation and use
- Crushed dried sheets of blueberry in the amount of 50 g pour a glass of boiling water.
- The mixture is placed in a water bath, boiled for half an hour.
- Drink a tablespoon up to six times a day before meals.
Broth with young branches
Features It is used to improve the work of the heart, strengthen the blood vessels, and normalize the work of the digestive tract.
Preparation and use
- The crushed raw materials (50 g of branches and leaves of blueberry) are boiled in a glass of water in a water bath for ten minutes.
- Filter out after two hours of infusion.
- Take a tablespoon four times a day.
Features Use blueberries to normalize vision, general strengthening of the body, as a means of cleansing blood vessels. To make a blueberry tincture, use fresh or thawed berries.
Preparation and use
- Prepared washed blueberries (one cup) pour half a liter of pure vodka.
- To insist placed in a dark place for eight days.
- After the specified period, the tincture is filtered, taken by dessert spoon three times a day.
Features All the healing properties of blueberries, except for the laxative effect, are preserved when juice is obtained from the berries. You can use fresh fruits or thawed. Blueberry juice is used to eliminate diarrhea, treatment of cholecystitis, pancreatitis, colitis, with general weakness after illness, as well as to eliminate the symptoms of a cold: body aches, fever.
Preparation and use
- Pure blueberries are crushed, crushed with a blender and squeezed through cheesecloth or several times passed through a juicer.
- Use a quarter or half cup three times a day.
The use of blueberry berries allows you to saturate the body with vitamins and minerals, improve the cardiovascular, urinary system, the gastrointestinal tract. Natural antioxidants and sorbents make blueberries an ideal product for maintaining beauty and youth, slimness, health.
This plant (in Latin, “Vaccinium uliginosum”) is a type of Vaccinium genus and belongs to the Veresk family, which, in fact, also includes blueberry, cowberry, cranberry berries known to us, and not quite well-known individuals: brood, arbutus, podbel, Eric, pieris.
Blueberries are a small shrub (in some cases, a shrub) with falling leaves, the height of which usually does not exceed 50 centimeters, but it can reach even a meter (and its tall variety is 4 meters). There are also such representatives of plants, brown or gray stalks of which spread along the ground.
Blueberries and blueberries can be safely called twins - they are so similar in appearance, but, like in babies born together, these berries, if you look closely, you can find characteristic differences.
So, in the heroine of my today's article, unlike her sister blueberries, the stems woody almost completely - right up to the top. In addition, they are brighter in blueberries, and the receptacle is not even, like a relative's, but as if broken.
Of course, these subtleties are noticeable only to botanists, but even mere mortals can distinguish between these two berries — blueberries of rich violet, almost black, and blueberries, as its name implies, are bluish-blue, as if with a touch of frost and pale green flesh. The juice of the first is bright red-purple, staining everything around, and the second is very pale, almost colorless. And the sisters have different tastes!
But blueberry and blueberry leaves are very similar - rather thin, oblong, sometimes obovate, they can grow up to 3 centimeters in length. With the onset of autumn, the foliage of blueberry becomes reddish, and then it falls. But this process in June-July is preceded by flowering of the shrub - it is covered with small five-prong white or slightly pinkish flowers in the form of drooping bells (and scientifically “jug” flowers) gathered in clusters.
And after them - at the end of summer and the beginning of autumn - the branches of the shrub are covered with bluish berries up to 12 millimeters long with a whitish, as if snowy, bloom.
Most often, the fruits of blueberry have a rounded shape, but there are also slightly elongated ones. They are distinguished by impressive frost resistance, and therefore they can remain on the branches even when the foliage falls - that is, before the onset of frost.
An interesting root system of the plant, which has no hairs, but is equipped with a special natural "device" for obtaining nutrients from the soil - a special mushroom cover called "mycorrhiza". This tubular network and feeds the blueberry bush, which under favorable conditions can live for 100 years! 😮
The history of the appearance of blueberries
The shrub mentioned above is common blueberry. It grows wild in the entire Northern Hemisphere, as it prefers a cold or temperate climate. Most often, blueberries are found in tundra zones, in forests, in foothills, on peatlands, along the banks of reservoirs of North America, Eurasia, Japan and the Far East.
According to the majority of scientists, this product has spread around the world precisely at the suggestion of the North American countries, where it comes from. The indigenous inhabitants of this territory, the Indian tribes, were very careful about blueberries and revered it as a sacred plant, because its flowers have a star-five-pointed shape. These wise peoples believed that juicy berries with a pleasant taste and numerous beneficial properties were sent to them by the gods in order to prevent hunger and disease.
But then, at the beginning of the 17th century, Europeans came to these lands, tasted miracle berries, and, as usual in “civilized” people, they wanted to dominate nature, that is, to grow blueberries on their own, and then produce it on an industrial scale. No sooner said than done!
It was in North America that garden blueberries first appeared - tall (they are also called “tall”, as well as “shield berries”, which scientifically looks like “Vaccinium corymbosum”).
This momentous event took place at the end of the 19th century, and until then everyone was content to pick wild berries.
With the onset of the twentieth century, the cultivation of the plant began in full swing. So, the pioneer in this business was an American botanist by the name of Frederick Vernay Covil. This man - thanks to him! - He took to work large wild blueberry berries and conjured over them in order, as a result of breeding, to get tasty and productive varieties of plants. Five years later, the first blueberry hybrids were obtained on a farm owned by Elizabeth White.
In the middle of the twentieth century, the cultivation of blueberries was already under way, and then went beyond the borders of America and continued in other countries, in particular, in Canada.
All varieties of blueberries are united by the common Latin term “vaccinium”, which, according to one version, is derived from the word “vaccinus” (translated from Russian as “cow”), that is, “suitable as feed for livestock”. However, the opinion of the ancient Roman encyclopedic writer Pliny the Elder that this name was transformed from the word “bacca” - “berry” is more common.
Common blueberry in Latin sounds like “Vaccinium uliginosum”, where the second word translates as “swamp, marsh swamp” from “uligo” - “swamp”, “moisture”. Actually, this type of plant is scientifically so called “bog bilberry”, “bog bog”, and also “bog bilberry”.
The Russian name of the berry is associated with its color - this is obvious. But this word is commonly used, but there are still a lot of popular “nicknames” of blueberry: “gonobobel”, “gonobob”, “gonoba”, “durnik”, “fool”, “fool”, “drunkard”, “drunkard” (I think emphasis on the letter "i"), "Sinica", "blue grapes", "water-drink" and even "drunken berry".
What a twist! 😮 It turns out that seemingly innocent blueberry fruits tend to ferment very quickly and make drunk those who use them in this form.
V.A. Merkulova, the author of “Essays on the Russian Folk Nomenclature of Plants,” suggests that the colloquial name “Gonobobel” is from Vepsian language belonging to the Baltic-Finnish language group. However, over time, the meaning of the word was Russified and literally began to mean “gon” and “pain” - “catching the pain,” apparently, a headache, in other words, a banal hangover. So, if you refuse alcohol in principle, try to eat only fresh blueberry berries, otherwise they will “hit the head”. 😆
In fairness, I note that there is another opinion, namely: it is not the blueberry that is intoxicating, but the wild rosemary, which often grows next door. Anyway, I do not want to check it for myself, but what about you? 🙂
When it comes to the taste of blueberry, the epithet “neutral” comes to mind. Yes, it is tasty, specific, such that you can’t confuse it with anything, but at the same time it is moderately sweet, without intense blueberry cloying, rather juicy, sometimes with light, barely perceptible sourness. I would say that such berries are very gentle, pleasant, refreshing, not annoying for a long time and at the same time rather nourishing, thirst-quenching.
The use of blueberries in cooking
And this phrase causes in my imagination bright mouth-watering pictures of various smoothies and fruit and berry salads - a sort of beautiful and unusual embodiment of wholesome food, a symbol of a healthy lifestyle. Indeed, blueberries added to these raw food dishes saturate them with a whole range of nutrients, and simply give them an original taste.
Try to combine blueberry berries with her relatives - lingonberries, blueberries, cranberries, you can mix with blackberries and sea buckthorn.
For such a vitamin mixture, peaches, nectarines, citrus fruits, mangoes, kiwis, grapes, bananas, pears, apples, plums are also suitable. Try to pour this colorful splendor with sour cream, yogurt, ryazhenka (if you still use dairy products) or liquid natural honey. I would probably add cedar nuts or chopped hazelnuts, or crumbled almonds, or cashews.
Please keep in mind, however, that, as we have found out above, that the product of interest to us has a neutral taste, and, therefore, it can simply be lost among other ingredients. So, if blueberries are a rare guest at your table, I would advise you to eat them mono, enjoying each berry separately.
It is difficult for me to believe that there are lucky people in the world who regularly consume these tasty blue fruits. It is these unfamiliar people who prepare fruit drinks from them, kvasses, smoothies, salads, squeeze out juice, make jams, jellies, jams, marshmallows, put them in cakes, pies, buns, pecans. We, the residents of places where blueberries do not grow by themselves and are not grown on an industrial scale, most often it remains only to buy it in dried or frozen form.
Quite often, blueberry fruit can be found as a decoration of confectionery products - cakes, pastries, cupcakes. Indeed, the presence of so unusual in color edible "beads" transforms them, because we are accustomed to, that the berries are usually red shades.
How do you eat blueberries? Do you have regular access to blueberry abundance or for you, as for me, this product is scarce?
The use of blueberries in the economy
Perhaps I will surprise you, but you can squeeze butter out of a blueberry - who would have thought? However, it is a fact! However, as you have probably already guessed, this substance is quite rare, although it has a number of useful properties for the organism.
If you are lucky enough to meet the blueberry oil on sale and even become its owner, then know that after a while it will eliminate the dryness of your skin, relieve it from the feeling of tightness, give it freshness, smoothness and elasticity, nourish with moisture and a whole complex of vitamins and minerals.
North American Indians actively used this plant, and all its parts, for the treatment of various diseases. Juice squeezed from berries saved cough, leaves brewed like tea improved the composition of blood and cleaned it, fresh berries strengthened the immune system, and dried ones saved in winter from hunger and beriberi. And why, actually, I speak in the past tense? Blueberries and now has all the listed useful properties - this was confirmed by numerous scientific studies. And the Indians and so everyone knew! 😉
How to grow blueberries?
Long gone are the days when our ancestors rode through the swamps and peatlands in search of delicious blue berries. Today, any summer resident can grow blueberries on his garden plot, and if you do not yet have your own piece of land, you can try to do it on a windowsill. It is important to note that there are varieties of this plant that love light, but most of them can grow normally in light penumbra.
The ideal soil for blueberries - peat or sandy, acidic or slightly acidic, you can use clay, but always with high-quality drainage. It is best to feed blueberry bushes with organic fertilizers of plant origin.
The optimal time for planting is spring after frost, when the ground has thawed out. It is advisable to plant bushes at a distance of 1.5-2 meters from each other in the fossa with dimensions of 50x50 centimeters.
Blueberries love to be watered frequently and abundantly, not allowing drying, but also avoiding stagnant water, especially in the first year of life. If it's hot outside, take care of bushes to get extra moisture in the form of spraying the leaves and stems.
With the fulfillment of these basic conditions, you will be able to grow a fruitful blueberry bush and enjoy its gifts every year!
Blueberry ripening season and storage conditions
Blueberry berries reach their natural ripeness in late summer and early autumn. It is at this time that they pour juice and are filled with all the nutrients we need. However, in a ripe form, this product is difficult to collect and transport, so most often it is sold in the “al dente” state (this is what they say about pasta, which retained its elasticity after cooking!). That elasticity tells us that the specific blueberry fruits will be very tasty.
How to choose blueberries?
Yes, these berries must be resilient and strong, not soft and watery, but at the same time, hard fruits indicate that they would still hang on a bush for a week or two - to ripen. It is very important to buy a ripe blueberry, because when it is picked from the branches, it no longer ripens - and then, you want, you do not want it, but you have to nibble unpleasant greens.
Therefore, be sure to feel some berries, and carefully examine them - high-quality "beads" are painted in a rich blue-blue color, sometimes even close to black, but not necessarily reddish.
Of course, blueberries must be intact - free of stains, dents, scratches. It should not be moldy plaque, although, as you probably remember, it is good if there is a whitish translucent layer on the skin that speaks about the ripeness of the berry. In addition, it is important that all fruits are dry, while wet individuals will soften very quickly and become covered with fungus.
How to store blueberries?
To be honest, I would not have kept it for a long time - I would have eaten these delicious berries, so to speak, “without departing from the cash register”. 🙂 But those people who intend to keep blueberries at home for some time should know that ripe berries can lie in the refrigerator without losing quality for no more than 2-3 days, and only if they do not have any mechanical damage.
Of course, you can gently wash and dry the blueberry fruits, and then gently fold them in layers into dry glass containers to put in the cold. In this case, your purchase will last a week and a half, but will lose a significant portion of vitamins and minerals, and she will not have the same taste.
Therefore, if you are lucky to become the owner of a large number of blueberries, eat it in handfuls. 😉 And the fact that you can not use in its original form, dry in the dehydrator or freeze (the first option is the preparation of berries is still preferable!). You can also pour sweet "beads" with honey.
Types and varieties of blueberries
Nature has generously endowed this plant with numerous varieties - there are about 200 of its species in the world, however only two of them are suitable for cultivation by people (and thanks to the breeders!), The rest have remained wild. We are talking about blueberry and marsh blueberries tall (American blueberries). The second, as the name implies, is taller, sprawling, with large berries.
With regard to plant varieties, then, again, through the efforts of breeders, a great many have been bred over the past century. Now it is not at all necessary to walk with a staff and a basket along the swamps in order to find rare blueberry berries. The modern agricultural industry allows every amateur gardener to become the owner of pretty bushes dotted with small blue fruits.
All currently known varieties of blueberries are divided into 5 varietal groups:
- Undersized - a small group of small bushes with small berries that contain an impressive amount of antioxidants.
- Tall northern - late cold-resistant varieties of blueberries with high demands on the quality of the soil.
- Tall southern - these are mainly hybrid varieties, bred from the northern tall varieties of plants and those species that naturally grow in the south, are drought tolerant and adapt well to different soils.
- Semi-tall - they are also resistant to low temperatures, like the northern varieties of the plant, can withstand up to -40 ° C, their height is not more than a meter, but they winter well under the snow.
- Rabbit eye - representatives of plants that grow well on poor soils, give a good harvest, are stored for a long time, but in taste, as a rule, are inferior to varieties of other groups, in particular, tall bushes.
Let's look at the most attractive varieties of blueberries.
This kind of plant is very loved by farmers all over the world for its high yields (from one bush - up to 6 kilograms of berries!) And unpretentiousness. Shrubs "Jersey" usually grow to a height of not more than 2 meters, but they can be safely called frost-resistant, resistant to pests and diseases, as well as taking root on various types of soil. Small, light-blue, round berries usually ripen in mid-August, they are well stored and have a pleasant, not cloyingly sweet taste.
Remember, in the section on the history of blueberry, it was about a farmer with the name Elizabeth White? So, this variety is especially large (up to 17 millimeters in diameter) and tasty fruits were named after it. It is interesting that such berries ripen not even at the same bush at the same time - this process can take two weeks to stretch, and it begins in early August.
These blueberry bushes are usually relatively small - up to 90 centimeters, but they are strong, frost-resistant, quite fruitful and very cute, which gives them decorative properties. Up to 2 kilograms of light blue medium-sized berries can be harvested from one Nortcantry. Their taste is pleasantly sweet.
Representatives of this species of plant are upright, spreading, of medium height (up to 160 centimeters), with impressive yield and good frost resistance. Fruits "Chandler" are very large - they weigh an average of 2 grams, and in diameter reach 20 millimeters. They are painted in a rich blue color, have a pronounced sweet taste, good density and characteristic of blueberry flavor. Such berries ripen unevenly - they start from August and finish ripening in mid-September.
One of the most popular among gardeners early variety of plants, which gives a bountiful harvest in late July. Up to 8 kilograms of rather large (up to 17 millimeters in diameter), brilliant berries of saturated blue color can be collected from one bush of “Blurs”. In addition, this type of blueberry copes with frost and is able to withstand temperatures up to -30 ... -34 ° C.
The remaining varieties of blueberry:
The benefits of blueberries
It is not at all surprising that European breeders, with such zeal, set about cultivating these delicious berries, because they (apparently, at the suggestion of the Indians!) Had learned about their many beneficial properties.
- Did you know that not only blueberries, but also her twin sister blueberries are good for vision? This bluish-blue berry relieves tension from the optic nerve, improves the blood circulation of the eye retina, and therefore, with regular use, of course, it restores visual abilities day after day. It is especially recommended for people suffering from glaucoma.
- It would be nice to include blueberries in your diet and those who suffer from diabetes. Not only does this product have a low glycemic index of 25 units, it also has a positive effect on the work of the pancreas, as well as, according to research, it increases the effectiveness of drugs designed to reduce blood sugar levels.
- The composition of the blueberry is magnesium, which means that its blue berries can have a positive effect against diseases of the heart and blood vessels, as well as on the nervous system. It strengthens the vascular walls and prevents the destruction of nerve cells.
- Vitamins K and B3, which are also contained in this wonderful berry, are an excellent prevention of varicose veins. In addition, vitamin K, known for its coagulating ability, allows to reduce blood loss during operations and childbirth, as a result of injuries.
- Blueberry, which contains a large amount of vitamin C, is a natural antioxidant, strengthens the immune system and protects our body from harmful radioactive radiation. It is especially recommended for use by people who live in ecologically unfavorable areas, and, in fact, to all of us, citizens. 🙂
- The presence of natural antioxidants (vitamins C and E) in the composition of this product makes it a prophylactic against cancer.
- Low calorie in combination with a pleasant not cloying sweet taste makes blueberries an indispensable product for those who struggle with obesity, overweight or just trying to keep their body in shape. Moreover, these berries have the ability to break down fats and reduce the level of "bad" cholesterol in the blood.
- Juice squeezed from blueberry fruits, will help reduce heat at high temperatures, and even qualitatively quench the patient's thirst and saturate his body with nutrients.
- If you include blueberries in your diet, then soon the work of your digestive system will get better, and you will forget about constipation. These berries increase the secretion of gastric juice.
- Like almost all products of plant origin, eaten in its original form, these berries alkalify the body, and, consequently, contribute to the process of normalizing the intestinal microflora.
- Blueberry has antimicrobial activity and stops inflammatory processes in the body. Very effective for urinary infections. It is also considered a natural diuretic and choleretic agent, and therefore is indicated for problems with the kidneys and liver.
- It can be safely recommended to parents of small children, since tasty berries are endowed with the ability to increase appetite.
- Long since this natural medicine was used for rheumatism, atherosclerosis, and increased pressure. And when poisoning, blueberries are able to remove toxins from the body.
- Scientists have found that blueberries, especially when combined with a blueberry sister, are a sure remedy, including prophylactic, for severe Alzheimer's disease.
Blueberries, for all its undoubted usefulness, has weaknesses. So, not being an allergen, this berry can still cause in some people intolerance, which manifests itself in the form of skin rash, itching, rhinitis. For this reason, it is carefully recommended to be introduced into the diet of babies and pregnant women prone to allergic reactions.
Abuse of blueberries (suppose you finally got to the whole field of these delicious berries!) Can also be deplorable for the body - cause diarrhea, nausea, and in some cases vomiting, as well as bloating, increased gas formation and even headache. Everything is good in moderation!
Interesting facts about blueberries
- Recognized world record holder for the production of blueberries - the US state of Maine, which is the research center for the cultivation of the berries, funded by Washington.
- The plant of interest to us is a honey plant, and honey based on it is a very rare useful delicacy with amazing tastes.
- 100 grams of blueberry contains about 5 times more antioxidants than the same amount of carrots, broccoli and apples!
- Despite the fact that blueberry juice does not have a rich color, it is able to color what is in contact with - for example, the dough for the cake. For this reason, supporters of healthy food can use it as a natural dye.
- It is known that during the Second World War, the English pilots used blueberry and blueberry jam to see better at dusk.
- Rescued blueberries and American soldiers during the Civil War - to protect them from scurvy.
And from any ailments you relieve with the help of blueberries? Did you manage, for example, to restore vision with its help? Do you regularly include this berry in your diet? If so, in what form?
A variety of blueberry ordinary. Her homeland is North America. It grows in wet marshy areas, usually reaches 1.5-2 m in height and 1.5-2.5 m in width.
Blueberry tall variety Patriot. Photo author
Shrubs bloom in late May, and very sweet berries begin to ripen in mid-July (early varieties), in August (mid-season varieties) or in September (late varieties). Berries ripen unevenly (ripe can hang on the branches for about two weeks), so the harvest takes place in stages. The yield of one bush is about 3-7 kg. In the garden blueberry berries (compared to forest) less vitamins.
Blueberry tall is different from ordinary:
- precociation: fructification comes at about 4-5 years, by 8-10 - reaches maximum yield, remaining about 30 years,
- berries are larger (10-25 mm),
- more thermophilic,
- does not tolerate flooding of roots and prolonged drought,
- at temperatures below -25 ° C. -28 ° C branches are often frosting, but the bushes recover quite quickly.
Features of the cultivation of garden blueberries
Blueberries do not tolerate close occurrence of groundwater. For full-fledged development, it requires a well-drained, wet, acidic or slightly acidic soil (pH 3.5–5) - with a different level of acidity, plant growth and development will be markedly reduced.
For planting in suitable soil, garden blueberries react with a good increase. Photo author
If the ground is clay, the plant needs to provide drainage (at least 15 cm) or plant it on high ground, as the roots may rot due to an excess of moisture. For the same reason, you can not plant garden blueberries in the lowlands, where there is stagnation of water.
Stagnant water will destroy blueberries. Photo author
For planting blueberries choose a site protected from the north winds, located on a well-lit place, without shading from the trees or buildings growing next to them (in the shade the bark on the shoots of the current year does not always have time to mature).
Inadequate shoots freeze in winter. Photo author
Ideal would be a place where other shrubs or trees did not grow for a long time.
Planting blueberries in place of one of the fruit bushes is not the best option. Photo author
For planting, it is advisable to purchase 2-3-year-old seedlings with ZKS, and planting on the site of several varieties contributes to better pollination and fruiting, improves the quality of the berries.
It is advisable to plant several varieties of blueberries in one area.
In advance (2 months), planting pits measuring approximately 40-50 cm deep and 50-60 cm in diameter are prepared. The distance between the bushes is kept on average from 1 to 1.5 m and more.
- Before planting, the roots of seedlings should be placed in water for 10-20 minutes.
- The pit is filled with acidic peat, foliage, crushed bark, sawdust, for acidification, you can add sulfur, citric, acetic or malic acid.
- When planting seedlings roots straighten.
- The root neck is buried by 5 cm.
- When planting no additional fertilizers do not make.
- After planting and watering, the holes around each bush are mulched (5-10 cm thick) with shredded pine bark, foliage, pine needles or sawdust.
You can pick up blueberry saplings of suitable varieties in our catalog, where the products of various online stores of seeds and planting materials are presented. Choose blueberry seedlings.
Loosening and weeding
After planting the blueberry, a regular superficial (the roots are located at a depth of 20 cm) is loosened, helping the soil to breathe well, and weeding around the bush.
Lack of weeds helps blueberries to fully develop. Photo author
The soil is also loosened before watering the plants.
Blueberry - moisture-loving plant. Within a few weeks after planting, it is plentifully watered 2 times a week in the morning or evening, 5-7 liters per bush, preventing both the soil from drying out and the stagnation of water. In the future, watering is required (preferably by the drip method) once a week.
Blueberries love watering. Photo author
For adult plants (and during the fruiting period), the irrigation rate is increased to 10 liters per shrub, and in hot weather and drought, it is doubled; In case of regular rains watering do not stop(held twice a month).
After watering, the holes are mulched with sawdust, bark, needles or fallen leaves.
Foliage and needles help retain moisture. Photo author
During periods of spring growth and fruiting, in order to provide blueberries with nitrogen, watering can be combined with top dressing by placing a tablespoon of ammonium sulfate in a bucket of water.
It can be determined using a special acidity control kit or pH tester. For acidification Blueberry bushes are watered twice a year (in spring and summer) with a solution: 2 teaspoons of citric, malic or oxalic acid, or 100 ml of 9% table vinegar are added to a bucket of water.
Acidification of the soil promotes the growth of young shoots. Photo author
You can also add 10-20 cm of sour peat under the bush.
Organic fertilizers (including manure or compost) blueberries do not feed! From the second year of cultivation, before the buds swell and during flowering, mineral supplements begin.
After fertilization, the foliage often becomes brightly colored. Photo author
For the first time - one tablespoon of finished fertilizer, in the following years the rate is doubled each time, and from 5-6 years left fixed.
How to understand what is missing blueberries
The lack of various mineral elements can be judged by the following features:
- yellowish leaves and weak growth - lack of nitrogen,
Blueberries need additional fertilizing with nitrogen fertilizer (ammonium sulfate). Photo author
- spots on the leaves, blackening and partial extinction - lack of potassium,
- leaf deformation - lack of calcium,
- redness of the edges of the leaves - a lack of magnesium,
It is time to make magnesium sulphate. Photo author
- the purple color of the leaves pressed to the branch is a lack of phosphorus,
- green veins with yellow leaf color - lack of iron,
- white or white-yellow color of the leaves - lack of sulfur (indicating a decrease in acidity),
- yellowing leaves - lack of boron.
To compensate for the lack of an element, you can use a complex of fertilizers (ammonium sulfate, zinc sulfate, potassium sulfate, magnesium sulfate, superphosphate, and others). You can also use a special fertilizer for blueberries.
All varieties of blueberry (in varying degrees) are susceptible to various diseases, may be affected by gray rot, stem cancer, late blight and others. In order to prevent the development of the disease and the possible death of a plant, fungicides are treated in spring.
After an illness blueberries can lose a trunk, but be updated from a root. Photo author
One of the most common diseases of blueberry - stem cancer. A sign of the disease - the appearance of red spots on the leaves and stem. In order to prevent in early spring and late autumn, they are treated with Bordeaux mixture. Sick plant is recommended to destroy (burn).
It is carried out in early springstarting from the second year after planting, or at the age of 3-4 years. The first cropping is for formations: an adult plant needs 5–8 strong shoots. From the age of 6, bushes will need to rejuvenating pruning (removal of shoots over 4-5 years old, damaged, dried, diseased branches) to maintain high yields.
In autumn, only dried (in the photo in the center) branches are removed. Photo author
In the autumn you can carry out preventive pruning (remove dried shoots).
Harvest time depends on the variety:
- berries early maturing varieties are starting to collect from mid-July,
- mid-season - since the beginning of August,
- late maturity - in September.
Blueberries ripen non-simultaneously
Maturation occurs unevenly, therefore, harvesting on one bush is delayed for several weeks. Ripe berries are easily separated from the brush, and the fruits of the first two collections are the largest and most tasty, it is desirable to eat them fresh.
Shelter for the winter
Garden tall blueberries are winter-hardy enough: depending on the variety, it can tolerate temperatures of -25 ° C. -28 ° C and below.
Serious damage can be caused to plants (especially late-ripening varieties) in frosty winters with extreme temperature or little snow.
Shelter for the winter for young bushes. Photo author
To protect the above-ground part from freezing or death, the bushes should be covered with non-woven materials, having previously tied the shoots with spruce branches (in the frame), or bend them to the ground and put the lapnik above (without the frame).
Without shelter after fierce winters, young blueberries can lose the above-ground part. Photo author
The spring frosts of the plant are not terrible: blooming blueberries can tolerate up to -7 ° C without much damage.
Blueberry is not afraid of spring frosts. Photo author
Reproduction of blueberry
You can propagate garden blueberries in three ways:
Seeds - a very long and difficult way, in which a full-fledged harvest can be expected no earlier than in 10 years. Seeds taken from fully ripened berries, dried, sown in a shallow trench. After 1-2 years, seedlings are planted in a permanent place.
Cuttings - they are harvested in the late fall. Next - on the principle of grapes.
A common branched stalk of a broken branch. Photo author
Root cuttings - the stalk is separated from the parental bush, placed in the sand, stored in a cool place. After 1-2 years, a sapling is obtained, the crop where you can expect the next year after planting in open ground.
From the young side shoots can form future seedlings. Photo author
Layering - in spring or summer, the branch is bent to the ground, part of it is sprinkled with soil to form its own root system. The following year, the seedling is separated from the parent plant and planted in a permanent place.
Which grade to choose
There are many varieties of blueberries, and each is good in its own way. When choosing, be sure to consider the characteristics of the variety and the climatic conditions of your region. As a rule, the most hardy and least capricious varieties are recommended for planting.
If in your lane often winters with little snow or strong temperature drops are observed, give preference to low-growing and medium-growth (0.6-1.2 m) varieties that can withstand temperatures as low as -34 ° C. -40 ° C
There are many varieties of blueberries, and each is good in its own way.
The best Russian varieties of blueberry, growing and fruiting in northern latitudes, include:
- ‘Taiga beauty‘,
- ‘Blue placer‘,
But their yield is lower than that of tall American blueberries.
From the undersized American varieties can be distinguished:
- ‘North Country ry and several others.
The undersized blueberries of the North Country variety are wintering well under the snow. Photo author
When warmer climates are planted American tall varieties that take root well and bear fruit:
- ‘Spartan‘ and others.
But in this case, it is still advisable to plant varieties of early or medium ripening. They are fairly easy to adapt to grow in new conditions, withstand a significant decrease in temperature and in a few years give a good harvest.
Early varieties, such as:
- ‘Early Blue‘
Mid-season varieties such as:
Bluejay is very hardy. Even thin twigs do not freeze over. Photo author
Late ripening varieties such as:
I tried to tell as much as possible about the cultivation of blueberries. If something is not clear, something causes doubts - ask, I will answer everyone. I would be glad if you share your experience of growing this wonderful berry.