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Blueberries
Blueberries are well known for their health giving properties, and they taste great too! Sales are booming, with a 93% increase in retail sales in the last year. They are available year round in most supermarkets and greengrocers. In Ireland, local blueberries are a niche product with the majority of the crop being grown by small farmers who mainly sell their crop off their farms. Blueberries come into season here for a few weeks in August, and the great news is – there is a bumper crop this year!

Contact details for local producers and outlets may be obtained from the secretary of the Irish Soft Fruit Growers Association, Madge Hurst, just email her on blueberryproject@eircom.net.

Some blueberry health insights!

If you’re wondering why blueberries are so good for you, wonder no more. The blueberry is a cousin of the North American huckleberry and the European Bilberry and can range in size from a petit poi to a marble.

Their deep dark colour holds tinges of navy blue and black, and hides a sweet and purple flesh inside. Their colour is not just striking but responsible for the berry’s reputation as being one of the best sources of flavonoids, especially anthocyanins.

Besides lending colour to fruits and flowers, flavonoids are responsible for many of the medicinal properties of foods, herbs and bee pollen. Flavonoids are sometimes referred to as ‘super nutrients’ because of their anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, antiviral and anticancer properties.

The anthocyanins found in blueberries, black grapes and other foods increase vitamin C levels within our cells, decrease the leakiness and breakage of small blood vessels, protect against free-radical damage and help prevent the destruction of collagen, an important component of skin and connective tissue.
blueberries on a Plate

Blueberries are also a good source of vitamin C another protective and powerful antioxidant. Blueberries contain a good balance of both soluble and insoluble fibre (e.g.pectin) which may help both constipation and diarrhoea.

Blueberries also promote urinary health. Components found in the blueberry similar to the cranberry can also reduce the ability of E.coli, the bacterium that is the most common cause of urinary tract infections, to adhere to the lining of the urethra and bladder.

An 80g serving provides only 46 calories, no fat and 1.6g of fibre.

The facts

Per 80g serving

Calories

Fat

Sat Fat

Sugars

Fibre

Vitamin C

Vitamin K

Blueberries

46

0

0

8g

1.6g

7.8mg

15.4µg

Quick serving ideas

  • Buy best-in-season blueberries when the price is right and freeze what you don’t need.  Then you can make your own favourite smoothies with frozen blueberries and enjoy anytime of the year!
  • Make up your own home-made muesli, with your favourite seeds and nuts and sprinkle some fresh blueberries on top for a colourful and nutritious punch.
  • Layer your favourite breakfast muesli, probiotic yogurt and blueberries in your favourite dessert glasses for a weekend treat.
  • Add some blueberries to your homemade crepes or pancakes instead of table sugar. Delicious!
  • Add valuable nutrients to your baby muffins or fairy cakes with some fresh blueberries.