Inside of a blueberry

Blueberries. Little balls of juicy goodness. The color. What else do we eat that is blue (and no blue M&M’s do not count!)? We Americans love our blueberries and why not? They are more American than apple pie. Blueberries are native to our soil. Pancakes and muffins have never known a better addition than the blueberry. That doesn’t mean that everything is all “blueberries and cream”. Often we go to the store and pick some out, not knowing whether we are headed to blueberry nirvana or extreme disappointment. My goal today is to help stir your experience more toward the former and less toward the latter. Let’s learn how to find good blueberries at the store.

A Berry from Many Places

One of the challenges of finding good blueberries in the store is all the locations blueberries are shipped in from. No other berry is grown commercially in more places. Nearly all the blackberries are form Mexico. The raspberries are a mix between Mexico and California. Strawberries are the same with a significant crop from Florida. The blueberry. I have seen them from California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan, Maine, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Chile, Argentina, and I am sure some that I forgot. That really is quite a selection of places. Forget the berries, I can’t think of any produce item in the major grocery stores that comes from more places. That is a testament to the blueberry and it’s popularity.

These frozen blueberries are from Maine.

Since blueberries are from so many places, the quality can vary quite a bit. Knowing when blueberries are in season will help (check out my handy dandy guide to when blueberries are in season).

How to Find Good Blueberries at the Store?

When selecting blueberries here are some things to look for.

1. Bloom
The whitish color that surrounds fresh blueberries is called bloom. This is the natural protection of the fruit. You will know the blueberries are fresh if you see this in the package. As times goes on this will naturally fade away. Also it’s easy to whip off with your hands. If the blueberries are handled too much it will be gone as well.

2. Size
Size isn’t always an indicator of quality. I do have to say that really small berries are almost always go to be on the tart side. I tend to find that the biggest berries are sweet and my favorite. It is not an exact science. I tend to buy large sized berries especially if their bloom is still intact.

3. Color
You never want to see pink on the berries (unless they are the pink lemonade blueberry variety). This means the berries left the bush prematurely – compromising both flavor and sweetness.

4. No Wrinkles
Any blueberry that is wrinkled is surely old. The texture will be mush. Unless they are going straight into smoothies and are super cheap, leave the fruit at the store.

Taste Test Before You Buy

Most of us would never buy a car without test driving it first. I say we can apply that same concept to blueberries. If you are concerned whether your blues are going to be good or not, ask one of the employees at the store if you can sample one. Any store that is worth shopping at will be more than willing to accommodate your request.

Don’t Forget the Dried Blueberries

When you aren’t finding good fresh blueberries in the store, you can always pick up some dried ones. I love dried blueberries. I use them in recipes like I would raisins. I especially love the dried wild blueberries found at Trader Joe’s – they are pricey but worth it to get your blueberry fix in the winter.

Blueberry Recipes

In the summer time when blueberries are in season here in the mitten state, I buy them buy the tons. $3.99 for a 2 pound clamshell container is not unheard of, with pints being around a $1. That is a great excuse to use them in as many recipes as I have time for. Pancakes are always a must. Here are some recipes that I have featured on the blog in past years:

Peaches and blueberries are a magical combination. A buckle is cake like with a crunchy crumble topping.

Peach-Blueberry Buckle

I love muffins. I love corn bread. I love blueberries. This recipe you get to have them all.

Blueberry Buttermilk Corn Muffins

Do Blueberries Have Seeds

Methods for Extracting Blueberry Seeds

You can use blueberry seeds from blueberries you pick off a bush or berries from the grocery store to grow blueberry bushes. You’ll have better results with freshly picked berries. Lowbush blueberries grow quite well from seeds, and you can plant the seedlings in rows, open fields or as ornamental plantings in your yard. After freezing the blueberries for three months to break their dormancy period, use one of the following methods for extracting the seeds:

  • Blender – Add three-quarters of a cup of thawed blueberries to your blender. Add water to fill it about three-quarters full. Blend the berries for about 10 seconds, and then let the seeds settle to the bottom, separating from the pulp. This takes about five minutes. Slowly pour off some of the pulp and add more water. Let the seeds settle to the bottom again. Keep doing this until all the pulp is gone. Take your seeds out of the blender, placing them on paper towels to dry.
  • Food Grinder – Place three-quarters of a cup of thawed blueberries in your grinder. Grind them until pulverized, and then pour the pulp into a quart jar. Add some water to the grinder, swirling it around to remove any seeds and pulp. Pour the water into the jar, as well. Place the cap on the jar and allow the seeds to settle to the bottom. Use the steps mentioned for the blender to pour off the pulp, and then dry the seeds in the same way.
  • Mash the berries – If you’d rather mash your blueberries by hand, that works too. Place three-quarters of a cup of thawed blueberries in a bowl. Use a pedestal or potato masher to crush the blueberries. Place the mashed berries in a quart jar, and then follow the instructions used for the grinder to separate the seeds from the pulp.

How to Plant Blueberry Seeds

Sometime in January or February, get ready to plant your blueberry seeds indoors. When spring arrives, your blueberry seedlings will be large enough to plant outside. Follow these steps for sowing your seeds:

  • Select a 3-inch deep box that’s large enough for the amount of seeds you have.
  • Fill the box with ground sphagnum moss. Moisten the moss before placing it in the box.
  • Sprinkle the blueberry seeds over the moss.
  • Cover the seeds with a thin coating of moss. Make sure you don’t make the moss too thick.
  • Place the box in a room where the temperature is from 60° (15.5°) to 70° (21°C).
  • Cover the box with newspaper.
  • Wait about one month for the blueberry seeds to germinate.
  • Take off the newspaper to reveal tiny seedlings.
  • Place the seedling box in a sunny location, and keep the seedlings moist.
  • Allow the seedlings to grow to 2 or 3 inches tall.
  • Carefully transplant the seedlings to pots filled with 2 to 3 inches of a soil mixture made of one-third part peat, one-third part sand, and one-third part soil.
  • Place the pots in a sunny spot, and keep the soil moist.

How to Transplant Blueberry Seedlings

Once your blueberry seedlings are potted, keep them inside or in a greenhouse until all danger of frost is past. When it’s time to transplant the blueberries, choose a spot that has acidic soil with a pH of 4.5 to 4.8. Plant the seedlings about 3-feet apart, covering them with 2 inches of organic mulch. The mulch provides nutrients and retains moisture for the transplants.

If your transplants produce any flowers during the first two years, remove them so that the vegetation can grow strong enough to support the berries. Prune your young blueberry bushes annually, removing broken or dead canes. Make sure to keep your blueberry bushes watered throughout the summer months because they have shallow roots that can dry out easily.

Blueberry Seed Planting: Tips For Growing Blueberry Seed

Blueberries are heralded as a super food — extremely nutritious, but also high in flavanoids which have been shown to reduce the damaging effects of oxidation and inflammation, allowing the body to fight off disease. Most home growers purchase cuttings, but did you know that blueberry seed planting will result in a plant as well?

How to Grow Blueberries from Seeds

First off, is a blueberry a seed? No, the seeds are inside the fruit, and it takes a little work to separate them from the pulp. You can use fruit from an existing bush or from those purchased at the grocers, but the results may be poor or non-existent. Blueberries do not self pollinate, which means they are rather unpredictable and their offspring do not duplicate the parent. It is better to purchase viable blueberry seeds for planting from a nursery, but if you would like to experiment, here is how to prepare blueberry seeds for planting.

To prepare blueberry seeds for planting, the fruit will need to be macerated. This can be done in a food processor, blender or mashed in a

bowl. Add a little water to the berries as you do this. Once the fruit is mashed, remove the floating pulp. Seeds will sink to the bottom. You may need to add water several times to remove the pulp completely.

Once you have gathered the blueberry bush seeds, they must be scarified. Place them in some damp paper towels and put them in the freezer for 90 days. Cold stratification will break the seeds’ rest period so they are ready for planting.

Blueberry Seed Planting

Once the 90 days have elapsed, the seeds can be used immediately or kept in the freezer until you are ready to plant them. Blueberry seed planting should commence in the fall in warm climates and in the spring in more northerly climes.

Plant the seed in dampened sphagnum peat moss in seed trays and cover them with ¼ inch of soil. Keep the medium consistently moist. Be patient; blueberry seed planting may take six to eight weeks to germinate, some not for three months. The hybrid high bush seeds germinate more unreliable than their wild low bush relatives.

Keep the seeds in a warm, sunny area (60-70 degrees F/15-21 C). If lacking in sunlight, suspend a fluorescent light about 14 inches above the seedlings. The resulting seedling from the growing blueberry seeds will look like grass with a few tiny leaves atop. During the first year of blueberry seed planting, the seedlings may get no taller than 5-6 inches in height.

Once the blueberry bush seed plants are big enough to transplant, move them into pots in a sunny, warm area and keep moist. The growing blueberry seed plants can be fertilized with a liquid fertilizer after two to three weeks in their pots. The resulting blueberry bush seed plants will bear fruit during year two when the plant is 1-2 feet tall.

It may take several years when growing blueberries from seed before the plant will produce any significant amount of fruit. So, again, be patient, but once established, the plant will keep you supplied with this super food for decades to come.

Wild Blueberries: 6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know

Where else in the world do locals save their vacation time to engage in hard labor?

In Maine and neighboring regions of Canada, thousands of acres of wild blueberries grow naturally. In some towns, local supporters actually take time off work to help harvest them.

Why do they do it?

The industry’s economic impact alone has left an unmistakable mark on the surrounding region. Even more than that, the wild blueberry tradition has taken a major role in the region’s history, securing a soft spot in the hearts of locals. In fact, most wild blueberry farms are still family-owned today, and for many of these owners, the tradition goes back generations. It’s become a part of their heritage — a way of life.

Possibly one of North America’s most natural crops, wild blueberries have an allure that extends far beyond the borders of Maine and Eastern Canada.

What’s wild about them?

Perhaps you’ve never known there was such a thing as a “wild” blueberry. Or maybe you did know, but assumed they were just like the cultivated kind you usually find at your local supermarket.

Wild blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium), 1 of only 3 berries native to North America, vary considerably from the cultivated kind (Vaccinium corymbosum) that most people think of when they picture a blueberry. Here are 6 specific differences.

1. Growing

Cultivated blueberries take careful planning and planting, whereas wild blueberries grow naturally in fields and rocky hills called barrens. No one plants wild blueberries; they’ve grown naturally for thousands of years.

Because wild blueberries grow on their own, they are a low-maintenance crop. Field owners are hands-off throughout most of the growing season, although they often introduce bees to naturally pollinate the bushes. Wild blueberries have a two-year crop cycle, so owners prune fields every other year with rotary mowers.

2. Characteristics

Cultivated blueberries are fairly uniform in their size, color and taste. Wild blueberries are generally much smaller in size than cultivated. They also vary in color from different shades of blue to almost black. Taste varies from very sweet to not-so-sweet.

3. Genetic composition

Those differences in taste, color and size are largely due to genetic diversity. As mentioned before, wild blueberries grow 100% wild – not planted or tampered with by people. So, wild blueberries have no genetic engineering, producing a very diverse crop.

The uniformity of cultivated blueberries results from selective breeding and farming practices.

4. Height

When you think of a blueberry bush, you’re probably thinking of a cultivated blueberry bush. They stand in straight rows and tower over the average person. These are referred to as “highbush.”

Wild blueberry bushes are referred to as “lowbush.” They spread low and wide through runners, covering fields in a random manner. Harvesters have to kneel down to reach them.

5. Harvest

Because of the lowbush height and often rocky terrain, many wild blueberry fields cannot be harvested with traditional machinery, and must be hand-harvested. Hand-harvesters use rakes to scoop berries off the bushes, working in an upward motion. These rakes are specifically engineered for wild blueberry harvest.

The harvest typically begins in late July and ends in early September.

6. Nutrition

For the consumer, the most notable difference between wild and cultivated blueberries probably lies in nutritional content. Not only can you get more fruit servings per pound from the smaller, wild berries, you also get more nutrition.

The official Wild Blueberries organization calls the wild-grown blueberry the “blueberriest blueberry” and the “better blueberry.” According to their website, wild blueberries have 2x the antioxidants of cultivated blueberries, thanks to a higher concentration in the flavonoid anthocyanin.

According to the site, this high concentration developed as the berries adapted to the cold temperatures and harsh climate of Maine and Canada. The hardiness it takes to survive these climates makes them naturally more rich in anthocyanin than cultivated berries, which generally grow in milder climates and less rugged conditions.

Industrial use

Once the blueberries are harvested, most suppliers utilize the Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) process, which locks in this nutrition at the optimal stage. Blueberries are frozen within 24 hours of harvest – at the height of nutrient value. Frozen wild blueberries are available year-round for both food manufacturers and consumers.

Check out Wild Blueberries’ infographic on the nutritional benefits of frozen over fresh.

The IQF process works ideally for all kinds of produce. Watch the process from start to finish.

Before freezing, berries are sorted, washed, and graded for character and size. The USDA has set an A-B-C grading scale based on a variety of physical characteristics like color, texture and any visible defects, with Grade A possessing the most aesthetically appealing characteristics. After they are frozen, the berries are microbiologically tested.

The industry’s rigorous quality control systems and agricultural programs ensure food safety, appealing to processors of all sizes.

Check out our wild blueberry offerings.

Comment below or ask questions via email.

While blueberries have blue or purple skin, the color of the inside flesh can be very different. Do you remember what color the inside was the last time you bit a blueberry? Chances are high it was not blue or purple. What was it then? Green, yellow, or white?

While the skin of the blueberries is typically dark blue or dark purple, the inside can have various colors. In this blog post, we explain what the typical colors of the blueberry flesh are, and explain why this color varies.

Blue, purple, green, yellow, white, what?

To understand the different colors of blueberries, it’s important to know that in fact, there are over 30 varieties of blueberries! The ones typically sold in supermarkets are cultivated blueberries (also known as the highbush blueberries) that grow in different parts of the world.

Despite the fact that cultivated blueberries have blue/purple skin, their flesh is usually light green, light yellow, or white. The reason is that cultivated blueberries have a lower amount of anthocyanins, the antioxidant that gives the fruit its blue/purple color. Studies have shown that the amount of antioxidants in blueberries is affected by several factors such as the cultivation method, composition of soil, use of pesticides and fertilizers, as well as genetic diversity.

On the other hand, there is a variety of lowbush blueberries that have a dark blue or purple inside out. These blueberries are grown wild in Northern European forests and are also known as bilberries. The inside color of wild blueberries is as dark as their skin and is so intense that just a few berries can give a beautiful color to your desserts, smoothies, pastries, or teeth. If interested, you can read more about the differences between wild bilberries and cultivated blueberries.

What gives wild blueberries their color?

Blueberries have high amounts of anthocyanins, which are a group of powerful and extremely beneficial antioxidants for human health. The role of anthocyanins is to absorb the ultraviolet (UV) light and create this dark blue/purple unique color, which will attract bees for pollination. The longer the berries are under the sun, the higher the amount of anthocyanins they will have, and therefore the darker the color of the berry, inside out, will be.

The unique summer conditions of Arctic Circle where the sun is up during the night too, make wild Nordic blueberries unique both in color and in the amount of anthocyanins they have. Nordic blueberries are often called the true superfood of the Arctic, and there is a good reason for this. Read more about antioxidants and their importance in our blog post Antioxidants: what they are and why they are important.

Adding some Arctic wild blueberry powder is a great way to boost your meals & snacks with super healthy antioxidants, natural fiber & vitamins! For some inspiration, visit our blog on How to use blueberry powder – Top 10 ways. Arctic Flavors freeze-dried blueberry powder is made of 100% wild blueberries from Finland – no preservatives, sugar or colorants added. A spoonful of this superfood powder equals a handful of fresh wild blueberries.

You may be interested in:

  • Wild Trio €40.50 Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating
  • Wild Blueberry Powder (Bilberry) €13.50 Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 8 customer ratings

Hope you enjoyed this blog post about the difference in the color of the inside between cultivated blueberries and wild blueberries (bilberries). If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us on our social media channels:

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Thanks for reading!

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Arctic Flavors

Blueberries aren’t actually blue, but deep purple, which is the colour of anthocyanin, a pigment that is especially rich in blueberries.

Humans have evolved to be attracted to, and to want to eat, coloured foods. For example, our ancestors would have known to eat berries that had a rich colour, because that meant they were sweet and ripe. Animals would also have been attracted to the vivid colour of ripe berries, and would have eaten the berries, resulting in the seeds being spread around afterwards when they went to the toilet. This effectively ensures that there are more berries available the following year, so it’s a clever way for a plant species to survive.

Blueberries are known to be high in antioxidants, which are good for the human body; the anthocyanin is thought to be useful for combating inflammation. A good rule to follow is, the darker the berry, the more anthocyanins are present.

• If you’re 10 or under, and have a question that needs answering, email [email protected], and we’ll find an expert to look into it for you.

August 18th, 2006

Could anyone not be loving berries? Strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries, and -the tiniest of all- blueberries. Having enjoyed innumerable bowls of fresh strawberries and raspberries over the last weeks, I’m now ready to move on from bright red to a devilish blue/purple.

I believe there is a perfect role for each sort of berry: Strawberries are the undisputed king, whether simply dusted with sugar and whipped cream or on a traditional strawberry cake. Raspberries jazz up every dessert merely by their presence. Blackberries conjure jam into some really addictive stuff. And blueberries?

Although blueberries are the perfect all-rounder and work great in muffins, pancakes or ice cream, my own memories are quite limited to eating them straight from wild bushes in the nearby forest – entailing the obligatory stained fingers and clothes, nicely packaged by a stern lecture from my mum. And I do remember her household remedy to clean up dark purple teeth: Brushing them with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Which in fact works great – however, I’m not sure if any sane dentist would honestly sanction this procedure…

Watch out though, blueberries are not created equal. I was hugely disappointed a few years ago, when I had planned to show up with a blueberry tart at a dinner party and bought a basket of cultivated blueberries. Nothing short of a disaster! The difference to the wild blueberries – being used to picking them with my own fingers – was shattering; I obviously had purchased the worst cultivated blueberries available. Despite (or maybe because of it?) their large size, they were practically tasteless and biting into them revealed a white inside, no blue, no violet, no colored tongue! Fraud!!!

After this incident I felt the need to do some research on blueberries. Picked wild blueberries are usually smaller in size, their color and taste is far more intense and in case you get to buy them fresh at the market, expect prizes to be a tad higher. Anyway, ever since my pratfall I can’t pass the market stalls selling the picked wild ones, no way.

We’ve been having them on a regular basis since they first appeared on the (Viktualien-) market. Since our temperatures became so low, I have been playing with the thought of turning on the heating. In August? So far I prohibited myself from doing it – because, how crazy is that, heating in the summer period? Consequently, instead of serving home made ice cream I felt much more like having a batch of cinnamon waffles with hot blueberries, sautéed for a few minutes with a bit of sugar and lemon juice until their dark purple juices started to come out. Ahhhh, a much better choice!

Usually I’d turn to my proven waffle recipe, which admittedly is pretty rich. So I’ve been trying various other, lighter waffle recipes over the last year, yet there was none that I would call a definite keeper. This time I used one from a waffle book, omitted the melted chocolate and added the cinnamon. The outcome topped my last attempt, but still, if you have a proven waffle recipe that is dear to your heart, I’d love to hear about it!

Carefully wash the blueberries in a sieve, then heat in a small pot together with a bit of sugar and the lemon juice (amounts up to taste). Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes.

The waffle recipe is quite simple. Heat up the waffle iron and brush it lightly with butter if needed. Whisk soft butter and sugar together in a bowl.

Now add the three eggs individually and beat the mix well after each one. Add the flour, the baking powder, a pinch of salt as well as the milk, the cream & cinnamon. Depending on how you prefer the batter (more or less dense) feel free to vary the amount of flour, a good starting point is 200g.

Pour batter into the center of the lower half of the waffle maker. Try not to use too much batter, the dough will rise a bit (and potentially make a mess). Bake them for a few minutes (3-5) until they become golden brown. Serve with freshly whipped cream and the hot blueberry compote. Lightly dust with confectioners’ sugar. And don’t forget to check the color of your blue teeth and tongue afterwards…

Waffles with hot blueberries and whipped cream

Recipe source: Dr. Oetker – Waffeln, p.56, adapted

Prep time: 15min., baking: 15-20min.

Ingredients (yields 6 waffles):

waffles:

100g butter

100g sugar

3 eggs

200-250g flour

1 tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

100ml milk

100ml heavy cream

1 tsp cinnamon

blueberry compote:

blueberries (wild)

lemon juice

sugar

topping:

freshly whipped cream

confectioners’ sugar

Berry

How are Driscoll’s berries harvested?

All our berries are hand-picked and field-packed, with the exception of blueberries which are packed in packing facilities.

Where can I buy Driscoll’s berries?

Driscoll’s berries can be purchased at most supermarkets throughout Australia, throughout most of the year. You can check seasonal availability here.

What types of berries does Driscoll’s offer?

You’ll find strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries packaged under the Driscoll’s brand.

What should I look for when selecting berries at the supermarket?

This depends on what type of berry you’re buying.

When choosing strawberries, look for punnets that contain brilliant red berries with an even, rich sheen. They should be clean and dry, and the leaves and stems should be bright green.

When choosing raspberries, look for plump, brightly coloured berries that have a soft, hazy gloss and are free of dents and bruises. Raspberries have tiny hairs on them called ‘styles’ – these are natural, and don’t affect the taste or ripeness of the berries.

When choosing blueberries, look for dry, plump berries that are free from bruises or dents. Fresh blueberries have a hazy white coating called ‘bloom’ that helps to keep them fresh. Avoid berries that lack bloom.

Finally, blackberries range in colour from deep blue to purple to black. Choose berries that are deep and evenly coloured. They should be plump and dry, and have a smooth sheen.

Do berries continue to ripen after they’ve been harvested?

No, berries don’t continue to ripen after they’ve been harvested.

What is the best way to store berries after I purchase them?

All fresh berries are highly perishable, so you should pop them straight in the fridge after purchase. This will extend their shelf life. They’re fragile, too – so keep them in their packaging until ready to eat.

Do I need to wash my berries before I use them?

As with all fresh produce, we recommend that you wash your berries before enjoying them. However, hold off on washing them until you’re ready to eat them – the moisture will decrease their shelf life.

Can I freeze fresh berries?

You sure can! Here are some helpful tips about freezing berries.

Strawberries: Wash carefully in cold water and pat dry. Remove the stems and any soft spots. Pack the berries into freezable containers. Seal the container and keep frozen until you are ready to use them.

Raspberries & blackberries: These berries are very fragile and sensitive to freeze damage. Rinse them gently in cool water then allow to dry in a colander or on paper towel. Pack them into sealed containers until you’re ready to use them.

Blueberries: Don’t wash before freezing (it can make their skins tough). Instead, pack your blueberries into freezable containers. Seal the container and keep frozen until you’re ready to use them. Wash the thawed blueberries prior to use.

Tip: If you have spare time and extra room in your freezer, place berries in the freezer on a baking tray and pack them into containers as soon as they are frozen. Freezing berries this way prevents them from sticking together, making it easier to measure out when you need them.

Why don’t you have a ‘best used by’ date on your berry packages?

Driscoll’s has a strict Quality Assurance Program in place from the field through harvest and distribution. We work hand-in-hand with our distribution and retail partners to make sure the berries you purchase are of the highest quality. Many factors can affect the shelf life of our berries – from the location of the farm, to the weather, growing practices and the type of plant. Due to these varying factors, a ‘best used by’ date isn’t applied. We recommend consuming the berries soon after purchase.

Does Driscoll’s have a global food safety program?

Yes, we do. Our stringent International Food Safety program ensures that our berries are produced with the highest standards of safety regardless of where they are grown. The program includes third-party audits, product testing and grower education.

Does Driscoll’s add colour or artificially enhance its berries?

No, Driscoll’s berries are naturally sweet, flavourful and bursting with colour. Our mission is to continually delight our berry consumers by providing “Only the Finest Berries” and we achieve this by perfecting our berry varieties through years of breeding.

Are Driscoll’s berries genetically modified (GMO)?

No, Driscoll’s berries are not genetically modified. Our Research and Development department is the industry leader in the development of premium berry plants that use natural and traditional breeding processes to create our delicious berries.

Does Driscoll’s use pesticides?

Driscoll’s primary concern is for the wholesomeness of our product and the safety of berry consumers. To reduce the use of pesticides, our independent farmers use an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) method, which uses a combination of natural and synthetic means to reduce disease and control pests.

Are any of Driscoll’s berries irradiated?

No, they’re not. Irradiation is a process that preserves food by using a low dose of high energy gamma rays to kill any germs and insects, thus slowing the maturation process and extending shelf life. Driscoll’s doesn’t use irradiation because we believe our harvest and cooling processes are highly effective in maintaining fruit quality and shelf life.

Are Driscoll’s packages recyclable?

Yes, they are. Our containers are made using PET, or Polyethylene Terephthalate. You’ll find the international recycling code stamped onto each pack, with the recycling code #1. This is the most acceptable recyclable packaging.

Can Driscoll’s ship directly to the consumer?

Driscoll’s doesn’t sell or ship berries direct to consumers. You can find our premium berries in supermarkets around Australia, at most times of the year.

Does Driscoll’s sell their berry plants?

Afraid not! Driscoll’s unique variety of berry plants are patented, which means they can’t be grown by anyone other than our independent farming partners.

The 8 Healthiest Berries You Can Eat

Berries are small, soft, round fruit of various colors — mainly blue, red, or purple.

They are sweet or sour in taste and often used in preserves, jams, and desserts.

Berries tend to have a good nutritional profile. They’re typically high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidant polyphenols.

As a result, incorporating berries into your diet may help prevent and reduce symptoms of many chronic diseases.

Here are 8 of the healthiest berries you can eat.

1. Blueberries

Blueberries are popular berries that serve as a great source of vitamin K.

One cup (148 grams) of blueberries provides the following nutrients (1):

  • Calories: 84
  • Fiber: 3.6 grams
  • Vitamin C: 16% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 24% of the DV
  • Manganese: 22% of the DV

Blueberries also contain antioxidant polyphenols called anthocyanins (2).

Anthocyanins from blueberries may reduce oxidative stress, thus lowering the risk of heart disease in both healthy people and those at high risk for the disease (3, 4, 5, 6).

In addition, blueberries may improve other aspects of heart health by lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood, reducing the risk of heart attack, and enhancing the function of arteries (7, 8, 9).

Blueberries may lower the risk of diabetes as well. Studies have shown that blueberries or bioactive blueberry compounds can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 26% (10, 11).

A large observational study has shown that people who eat blueberries also have slower rates of cognitive decline, meaning their brain remains healthier as they age (12).

However, more research is needed to determine the exact role that blueberries play in brain health.

Blueberries contain good amounts of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidant anthocyanins. Eating blueberries may help reduce risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.

2. Raspberries

Raspberries are often used in desserts and serve as a very good source of fiber.

One cup (123 grams) of raspberries provides (13):

  • Calories: 64
  • Fiber: 8 grams
  • Vitamin C: 36% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 8% of the DV
  • Manganese: 36% of the DV

Raspberries also contain antioxidant polyphenols called ellagitannins, which can help reduce oxidative stress (14).

One study showed that when cyclists consumed a drink containing raspberries and other berries, oxidative stress caused by exercise decreased significantly (15).

The most commonly consumed raspberries are the American red or European red varieties. However, there are many different types of raspberries, and black raspberries have been shown to have a number of health benefits, too.

Black raspberries may be especially good for heart health. Studies have proven that black raspberries can reduce risk factors for heart disease, such as blood pressure and blood cholesterol (16, 17, 18).

Other studies have shown that black raspberries may reduce inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome (19).

However, these studies were very small. More research is needed to confirm the benefits of black raspberries.

Summary Raspberries are full of fiber and antioxidant polyphenols. Black raspberries, in particular, may benefit heart health.

3. Goji berries

Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, are native to China and used in traditional medicine. They have recently become very popular in the Western world.

One ounce (28 grams) of dried goji berries provides (20):

  • Calories: 98
  • Fiber: 3.7 grams
  • Vitamin C: 15% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 42% of the DV
  • Iron: 11% of the DV

Goji berries also contain high levels of vitamin A and zeaxanthin, both of which are important for eye health.

One study of 150 elderly people found that eating 14 grams of a proprietary milk-based formulation of goji berry per day reduced the decline in eye health due to aging. This study, along with a second similar study, showed that eating goji berries could raise blood zeaxanthin levels (21, 22).

Like many other berries, goji berries contain antioxidant polyphenols. One study found that drinking goji berry juice for 30 days increased blood antioxidant levels of healthy, older Chinese people (23).

Another study found that drinking goji berry juice for 2 weeks increased metabolism and reduced waist size in overweight people (24).

Summary Goji berries are particularly rich in nutrients that contribute to eye health. They also contain important antioxidants.

4. Strawberries

Strawberries are one of the most commonly consumed berries in the world and also one of the best sources of vitamin C.

One cup (144 grams) of whole strawberries provides (25):

  • Calories: 46
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Vitamin C: 97% of the DV
  • Manganese: 24% of the DV

Strawberries are good for heart health. In fact, a study of over 93,000 women found that those who ate more than 3 portions of strawberries and blueberries per week had over a 30% lower risk of heart attack (26).

Other studies have shown that strawberries may reduce a number of risk factors for heart disease including blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and oxidative stress (27, 28, 29, 30).

Moreover, strawberries may help control blood sugar levels, which is important for preventing diabetes (33).

In fact, a study of over 200,000 people found that eating strawberries could reduce type 2 diabetes risk by as much as 18% (34).

Finally, another study showed that eating 2 ounces (60 grams) per day of freeze-dried strawberry powder reduced oxidative stress and inflammatory chemicals in people at high risk of developing esophageal cancer (35).

Summary Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C. They are proven to reduce risk factors for heart disease and help control blood sugar.

5. Bilberries

Bilberries are very similar to blueberries, and the two are often confused. Bilberries are native to Europe, whereas blueberries are native to North America.

3.5 ounces (100 grams) of bilberries provide (36):

  • Calories: 43
  • Fiber: 4.6 grams
  • Vitamin C: 16% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 12% of the DV

Many scientific studies have shown that bilberries are effective at reducing inflammation.

A couple of studies have shown that eating bilberries or drinking bilberry juice can reduce inflammation in people at risk of heart disease or metabolic syndrome (37, 38).

Another study of 110 women found that eating bilberries for around 1 month reduced the levels of endothelial markers that are implicated in the development of heart disease. Bilberries also reduced waist circumference by 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) and weight by 0.4 pounds (0.2 kgs) (39).

A separate study found that eating a diet rich in bilberries, whole grains, and fish reduced blood sugar in people with high blood sugar (40).

Bilberries may also increase “good” HDL cholesterol and reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol (41, 42).

Summary Bilberries are similar to blueberries and are effective at reducing inflammation. They may also help reduce weight and blood cholesterol.

6. Acai berries

Acai berries grow on acai palm trees native to the Brazilian Amazon region.

They have become popular health food supplements because of their high antioxidant content.

3.5 ounces (100 grams) of acai berry puree provides (43):

  • Calories: 70
  • Fiber: 5 grams

Keep in mind that acai berries are often consumed dried or freeze-dried, which can affect the nutritional content.

Acai berries are one of the best sources of antioxidant polyphenols and may contain as much as 10 times more antioxidants than blueberries (44).

When consumed as a juice or pulp, acai berries can increase blood antioxidant levels and reduce chemicals involved in oxidative stress (45, 46).

Additionally, acai berry pulp has been shown to reduce blood sugar, insulin, and blood cholesterol levels in overweight adults who consumed 200 grams per day for 1 month (47).

These effects have also been shown in athletes. Drinking 3 ounces (100 ml) of an acai juice blend for 6 weeks reduced blood cholesterol and reduced oxidative stress after exercise, which may speed up recovery from muscle damage (48).

The antioxidants in acai may also help reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. A study of people with osteoarthritis found that drinking 4 ounces (120 ml) of acai juice per day for 12 weeks significantly reduced pain and improved daily living (49).

Summary Acai berries contain high amounts of antioxidants, which may help reduce blood cholesterol, oxidative stress, and even reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

7. Cranberries

Cranberries are an extremely healthy fruit with a sour taste.

They are rarely eaten raw. Instead, they are commonly consumed as juice.

1 cup (110 grams) of raw cranberries provides (50):

  • Calories: 46
  • Fiber: 3.6 grams
  • Vitamin C: 16% of the DV
  • Manganese: 12% of the DV

Like other berries, cranberries contain antioxidant polyphenols. However, most of these antioxidants are in the skin of the cranberry. Therefore, cranberry juice doesn’t contain as many polyphenols (51).

The best-known health benefit of cranberries is their ability to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Certain chemicals in cranberries prevent the bacteria E. coli from sticking to the wall of the bladder or urinary tract, therefore reducing the risk of infection (52, 53).

A number of studies have shown that drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements can reduce the risk of UTIs (54, 55, 56, 57).

Cranberry juice may reduce the risk of other infections as well.

H. pylori is a type of bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers and cancer. A number of studies have shown that cranberry juice can prevent H. pylori from attaching to the stomach wall and thus prevent infection (58, 59).

Cranberry juice has also shown various benefits for heart health. Many studies have found that drinking cranberry juice can reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, oxidative stress, and “stiffness” of arteries (60, 61, 62, 63).

However, it’s best to avoid varieties of cranberry juice with lots of added sugar.

Summary Cranberries and cranberry juice can reduce the risk of urinary tract and stomach infections and may benefit heart health. However, it’s best to avoid juices with lots of added sugar.

8. Grapes

Grapes are widely consumed either as whole, raw fruit or as juice, wine, raisins, or vinegar.

One cup (151 grams) of whole, raw grapes provides (64):

  • Calories: 104
  • Fiber: 1.4 grams
  • Vitamin C: 5% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 18% of the DV

The skin and seeds of grapes are an excellent source of antioxidant polyphenols. A number of studies have shown that grape seed polyphenol extracts can lower both blood pressure and heart rate (65, 66).

However, many of these studies were small. Other studies assert that the effect of polyphenols on blood pressure remains unclear (67).

A large observational study found that eating grapes or raisins 3 times per week was associated with a 12% reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes (68).

Another study found that eating 17 ounces (500 grams) of grapes per day for 8 weeks reduced blood cholesterol and oxidative stress in people with high cholesterol (69).

Finally, grape juice may even benefit brain health. A small study of 25 women found that drinking 12 ounces (355 ml) of Concord grape juice every day for 12 weeks significantly improved memory and driving performance (70).

Summary Grapes, particularly the seeds and skin, are full of antioxidants. They may help reduce blood cholesterol and type 2 diabetes risk while also benefiting brain health.

The bottom line

Berries are some of the healthiest foods you can eat, as they’re low in calories but high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants.

Many berries have proven benefits for heart health. These include lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, while reducing oxidative stress.

They may also help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by acting as great alternatives to sugary snacks.

Try to eat a few portions of berries a week and sample different types. They make a great snack or healthy breakfast topping.

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