All blueberries belong to the genus Vaccinium. The family includes the Highbush (V. corymborsum and V. ashei) and the Native American "wild" low bush (V. augustifolium). All blueberries originated from the wilds. Highbush blueberries represent 57% of total North American blueberry production.
Source: US Highbush Blueberry Council
|Fresh Season||Berry Description||Flavor|
|Earliblue||Late June - Early July||Medium-large, light blue, firm||Good, sweet, aromatic|
|Bluetta||Late June - Early July||Medium, light blue, firm||Fair to good|
|Duke||First three weeks of July||Medium, light blue, firm||Fair, more aromatic after storage|
|Spartan||Early - Mid-late July||Very large, light blue, firm||Excellent|
|Patriot||Early - Mid-late July||Very large, slightly flat, medium blue, firm||Excellent|
|Collins||Early - Mid-late July||Large, light blue, firm||Excellent|
|Northsky||Early - Mid-late July||Medium, light blue||Good|
|Bluejay||Early - Mid-late July||Medium-large, light blue, firm||Excellent|
|Northblue||Mid July - Early August||Large, dark blue, firm||Good|
|Northcountry||Mid July - Early August||Medium, very light blue||Sweet, mild "wild" flavor|
|Northland||Mid July - Early August||Medium, medium blue, moderately firm||Good, sweet|
|Blueray||Mid July - Early August||Large-very large, light blue, firm||Excellent, aromatic|
|Ivanhoe||Mid July - Early August||Large, light blue, firm||Good, tart, aromatic|
|Olympia||Mid July - Early August||Medium-large, medium blue, thin skin||Very good|
|Bluecrop||Mid July - Early August||Very large, light blue, firm||Very good, slightly aromatic|
|Berkely||Mid July - Mid August||Large-very large, light blue, firm||Fair, mild, less acid than most cultivars, slightly aromatic|
|Pemberton||Mid-late July - Mid August||Medium-large, dark blue, firm||Fair, slightly aromatic|
|Herbert||Mid-late July - Mid August||Large-very large, medium blue, medium firmness||Very good, aromatic|
|Coville||Late July - Mid-late August||Very large, medium blue, firm||Good, tart, highly aromatic|
|Jersey||Late July - Mid-late August||Medium, medium blue, firm||Fair, no aroma|
|Dixi||Early - Mid-late August||Large-very large, medium blue, firm||Good to excellent, aromatic|
|Darrow||Early - Mid-late August||Large-very large, light blue, firm||Excellent, tart|
|Lateblue||Mid - Late August||Medium-large, light-medium blue, firm||Good to very good|
|Elliott||Mid-late Aug. - Early Sept.||Medium, light blue, firm||Mild to good, slightly tart|
13.1 ± 0.5 ( µ mol TE/g) 1
24.0 ± 2.0 ( µ mol TE/g) 2
182 ± 9 (mg/100 g) 1
122.7 ± 11.0 (mg/100g) 2
313 ± 8 (mg/100 g) 1
290.7 ± 20.5 (mg/100g) 2
1 Highbush blueberry fruit ( Vaccinium corymbosum L. cv. Duke) by “Zheng, Y, Wang, CY, Wang, SY, and Zheng, W. 2003. Effect of High-Oxygen Atmospheres on Blueberry Phenolics, Anthocyanins, and Antioxidant Capacity. J Ag Food Chem 51: 7162-7169”.
2 Average value of different cultivars of four Vaccinium species [Vaccinium corymbosum L (Highbush), Vaccinium ashei Reade (Rabbiteye), Vaccinium angustifolium (Lowbush), and Vaccinium myrtillus L (Bilberry)] by “Prior, RL, Cao, G, Martin, A, Sofic, E, McEwen, J, O'Brien, C, Lischner, N, Ehlenfeldt, M, Kalt, W, Krewer, G and Mainland, CM. 1998. Antioxidant Capacity As Influenced by Total Phenolic and Anthocyanin Content, Maturity, and Variety of Vaccinium Species. J Ag Food Chem 46:2686-2693”.
mg/100g edible portion
|Minimum||Maximum||No. of Samples|
The USDA Database for flavonoids was created in response to interest by the scientific community in types of flavonoid compounds and their varied biological properties including antioxidative, antimicrobial, and potential anticarcinogenic, and/or cardioprotective effects.
Source: U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods. Nutrient Data Laboratory, Food Composition Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, ARS, March 2003.
mg/100 g. edible portion
|Minimum||Maximum||No. of Samples|
The free radical scavenging properties of proanthocyanidins including their potential for risk reduction of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, blood clotting and protection against urinary tract infections have been under investigation by scientists. Also referred to as "condensed tannis," proanthocyanidins polymers of flavan-3-ols, contribute astringent flavor to foods. Following is a listing of proanthocyanidin content of raw blueberries from the USDA Database for the Proanthocyanidin Content of Selected Foods.
Source: U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, USDA Database for the Proanthocyanidin Content of Selected Foods. Nutrient Data Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, ARS, August 2004.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference)
|Nutrients||1 cup fresh||1 cup canned, heavy syrup packed||1 cup unthawed, sweetened frozen|
|Weight||145 grams||256 grams||230 grams|
|Protein||1.07 grams||1.66 grams||0.92 grams|
|Lipid (fat)||0.48 grams||0.84 grams||0.30 grams|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||21.01 grams||56.47 grams||50.48 grams|
|Fiber, total dietary||3.5 grams||4.1 grams||5.1 grams|
|Sugars, total||14.44 grams||52.38 grams||45.36 grams|
|Glucose (dextrose)||7.08 grams|
|Calcium||9 mg||13 mg||14 mg|
|Iron||0.41 mg||0.84 mg||0.90 mg|
|Magnesium||9 mg||10 mg||5 mg|
|Phosphorus||17 mg||26 mg||16 mg|
|Potassium||112 mg||102 mg||138 mg|
|Sodium||1 mg||8 mg||2 mg|
|Zinc||0.23 mg||0.18 mg||0.14 mg|
|Copper||0.083 mg||0.136 mg||0.090 mg|
|Manganese||0.487 mg||0.520 mg||0.603 mg|
|Selenium||0.1 mcg||0.3 mcg||0.5 mcg|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||14.1 mg||2.8 mg||2.3 mg|
|Thiamin||0.054 mg||0.087 mg||0.046 mg|
|Riboflavin||0.059 mg||0.136 mg||0.120 mg|
|Niacin||0.606 mg||0.289 mg||0.582 mg|
|Pantothenic acid||0.180 mg||0.228 mg||0.287 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.075 mg||0.092 mg||0.136 mg|
|Folate, total||9 mcg||5 mcg||16 mcg|
|Folate, food||9 mcg||5 mcg||16 mcg|
|Folate, DFE||9 mcg_DFE||5 mcg_DFE||16 mcg_DFE|
|Vitamin A, IU||78 IU||92 IU||113 IU|
|Vitamin A, RAE||4 mcg_RAE||5 mcg_RAE||5 mcg_RAE|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||0.83 mg||0.97 mg||1.20 mg|
|Tocopherol, beta||0.01 mg|
|Tocopherol, gamma||0.53 mg|
|Tocopherol, delta||0.04 mg|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||28.0 mcg||16.4 mcg||40.7 mcg|
From research labs all across the country and the world, there is growing evidence that blueberries could be powerful little disease fighters. Here is what we have learned so far...
Antioxidants - Researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Center (HNRCA) have found that blueberries rank #1 in antioxidant activity when compared to 40 other fresh fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful by-products of metabolism called "free radicals" that can lead to cancer and other age related diseases.
Anthocyanin -- the pigment that makes the blueberries blue -- is thought to be responsible for this major health benefit.
Anti-Aging - In another USDA Human Nutrition Center (HNRCA) lab, neuroscientists discovered that feeding blueberries to laboratory rats slowed age-related loss in their mental capacity, a finding that has important implications for humans. Again, the high antioxidant activity of blueberries probably played a role.
Disease Prevention - Blueberries may reduce the build up of so called "bad" cholesterol that contributes to cardiovascular disease and stroke, according to scientists at the University of California at Davis. Antioxidants are believed to be the active component.
Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections - Researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey have identified a compound in blueberries that promotes urinary tract health and reduces the risk of infection. It appears to work by preventing bacteria from adhering to the cells that line the walls of the urinary tract.
Blueberries and Eyesight - A number of studies in Europe have documented the relationship between bilberries, the European cousin of blueberries and improved eyesight. This is thought to occur because of the anthocyanin in the blue pigment which is also available in the blueberry. One study in Japan documented that blueberries helped ease eye fatigue.
Cholesterol Reducing Blueberries - At the recent American Chemical Society meeting it was reported that a compound found in blueberries called pterostilbene has "the potential to be developed into a nutraceutical for lowering cholesterol, particularly for those who do not respond well to conventional drugs," reports foodnavigator.com (8/24/04). Study authors from the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) indicate that the compound found in Vaccinium berries could be a "potent weapon in the battle against obesity and heart disease through its cholesterol-reducing potential." Head researcher, Agnes M. Rimando and her associates "earlier showed that this compound may help fight cancer." An abstract of the study is found on the Agricultural Research Service website which also studied the presence of resveratrol and piceatannol . According to the technical abstract, "These naturally occurring stilbenes, known to be strong antioxidants and to have cancer chemopreventive activity, will add to purported health benefits derived from consumption of these small fruits."
Ethnobotany and Blueberries: Blueberries have been associated with positive physiological and cosmetic benefits for centuries. Here we list non scientific information which although not endorsed by the USHBC, may be of interest to researchers as a direction for further research.
- Blueberry Health and Nutrition traditions in China. (under construction)
- Native American and First Nations of Canada blueberry health and medicinal traditions. (under construction)
- Blueberry health and nutrition in Russia and Central European Traditions. (under construction)
Nutrition Summary - The following summarizes some of the published research in the area of nutraceuticals and health.
The belief that food products have medicinal properties has been celebrated in folk medicine for centuries. Today food properties are being explored by the medical and scientific fields. Some cultures have long valued many naturally occurring substances believed to have preventative and therapeutic value. In the United States, nutraceuticals are part of a rapidly expanding area of biomedical research, generating considerable interest among consumers, manufacturers, and regulators alike. This is a progressive area; the field is continually conducting studies and discovering possible benefits.
Though blueberries themselves are not a cure-all, they contain a number of substances which are thought to have health benefits. These substances include, but are not limited to fructose, fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. Antioxidants thus far, seem to have the most conclusive role in the prevention/ delaying of such diseases as cancer, heart disease and the aging process however, a limited number of studies, especially long term and on human beings, are not available at this time.