By Liliana Usvat
Fruit – raw or cooked. Delicious when eaten out of hand, the fruit is also used in pies, preserves etc. Root – cooked. The root, which should be neither too young nor too old, requires a lot of boiling. Young shoots – peeled and eaten raw or cooked like asparagus. They are harvested as they emerge through the ground in the spring and whilst they are still tender. A herb tea is made from the dried leaves. Another report says that a type of tea made from raspberry and blackberry leaves is an excellent coffee substitute.
Habitat: Moist neglected land, hedgerows and woodland edges.
- Seed – requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3°C and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year.
- Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn.
- Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn.
- Antiemetic. The leaves and roots are anti-inflammatory, astringent, decongestant, ophthalmic, oxytocic and stimulant.
- A tea made from them is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, as a tonic for the uterus to strengthen pregnant women, and as an aid in childbirth.
- The tea has also been shown as effective in relieving painful menstrual cramps. The active ingredients both stimulate and relax the uterus.
- Externally, the leaves and roots are used as a gargle to treat tonsillitis and mouth inflammations, as a poultice and wash to treat sores, conjunctivitis, minor wounds, burns and varicose ulcers.
- The leaves are harvested in the summer and dried for later use. The fruit is antiscorbutic and diuretic. Fresh raspberry juice, mixed with a little honey, makes an excellent refrigerant beverage to be taken in the heat of a fever. Made into a syrup, it is said to have a beneficial effect on the heart.
The blueberry harvest in North America varies. It can start as early as May and usually ends in late summer. The principal areas of production in the Southern Hemisphere (Australia, Chile, New Zealand and Argentina) have long periods of harvest. In Australia, for example, due to the geographic spread of blueberry farms and the development of new cultivation techniques, the industry is able to provide fresh blueberries for 10 months of the year – from July through to April. Similar to other fruits and vegetables, climate-controlled storage allows growers to preserve picked blueberries. Harvest in the UK is from June to August.
Blueberries were first introduced to Australia in the 1950s, but the effort was unsuccessful. In the early 1970s, David Jones from the Victorian Department of Agriculture imported seed from the U.S. and a selection trial was started. This work was continued by Ridley Bell, who imported more American varieties. In the mid-1970s, the Australian Blueberry Growers’ Association was formed.
Canadian exports of blueberries in 2007 were C$756 million, the largest fruit crop produced nationally, occupying more than half of all Canadian fruit acreage.
Health Benefits of Blueberry
When consumed on a regular basis,
- blueberries lessen blood sugar level,
- decrease urinary tract infections, and at high doses
- block replication of the Hepatitis C virus.
- Blueberries can improve memory.
- Like other antioxidant containing foods, blueberries alleviate symptoms of cardiac disease
- reverse age-related physical and mental declines
- promote weight control.
- improve vision
- clearing arteries
- strengthen blood vessels
Blog 72 -365
- The Nutritional Benefits of Blueberries (ian6steyn.wordpress.com)
- Maine blueberry crop expected to be above average (sfgate.com)
- Blueberry Granola Smoothie: Great Breakfast Choice (bestfruitsmoothies.com)
- Unusual fruits to grow in your garden (telegraph.co.uk)
- Benches & Blueberries (lisakeys64.wordpress.com)
- Early-ripening fruit blueprint for record crop (stuff.co.nz)
- Coloma processor teams up with small blueberry farmer to boost organic offerings (mlive.com)
- Blueberry Porridge (gourmetgloucestershiregirl.wordpress.com)
- A Berry Delicious Treat (ismphotosynthesisproject.wordpress.com)