Highbush Cultivated Blueberries:
Highbush blueberry varieties produce larger fruit than the lowbush varieties and can grow up to 6-8 feet in height. These bushes provide the plump, deep blue berries most commonly available fresh in grocery stores and supermarkets across Canada. British Columbia grows 93% of Canada’s highbush blueberries.
Lowbush Wild Blueberries:
The lowbush varieties produce smaller berries and provide a crop every second year. They grow wild and abundant in Eastern Canada and the majority of our production is picked in Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Wild Canadian blueberries are most commonly processed within 24 hours of picking by a method called IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) which flash-freezes individual berries and helps retain their structure and nutrition content. You can find them in the freezer aisle with the Canadian Wild Blueberries stamp.
How to Buy:
- Look for dark blue, plump, sweet smelling berries with no moisture, mould or mildew in the container.
- The silvery residue is natural and protects the fruit.
- Size is not an indicator of flavor or sweetness but colour is. The reddish berries are unripened and will be tart.
Blueberries are commonly found fresh or in the frozen section but an increase in demand of the highly-nutritious fruit has led to more dried, juiced, powdered, puffed and puréed blueberry products available year-round.
How to Store:
Store your berries in the fridge immediately when you get them home. Leave them in the original container or another covered storage container. Don’t wash them until right before you’re going to use them. Use within 10 days of purchase.
Do not wash before freezing. Spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for 4 – 6 hours until frozen solid. Then transfer them to a lidded container or freezer bag. Rinse frozen berries before using. Use frozen berries within 1 year of purchase and use thawed berries within 3 days of removing them from the freezer.
How to Prepare:
Serve fresh berries whole or in smoothies or turn them into jams, jellies, ice cream, desserts, sauces, salads, baking, you name it! Try these recipes:
How Blueberries are Grown:
Depending on the variety, blueberry bushes are harvested in two to four picks between mid-August and mid-September. They are both hand picked for the table and machine harvested for the freezer aisle.
Annually, blueberries make up 59% of all the fruit grown in Canada. Canada is the world’s second largest producer of blueberries after the US, and the largest producer of wild blueberries. Canadian blueberries are monitored and inspected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Look for Canada on the Country of Origin label or for wild blueberries.
Canadian Crop is Available:
July – September, but frozen berries are available year round.
Highbush Cultivated Blueberries Grown in:
British Columbia, Ontario
Lowbush Wild Blueberries Grown In:
Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.