There's nothing better than sweet, fresh blueberries picked right from the patch. Whether you have a blueberry patch on your property, you've run across some blueberry plants in the woods, or you're planning on visiting a commercial blueberry patch to do your picking, it's always best to find the perfect time to pick your blueberries. What could be worse than getting all excited about picking blueberries, and discovering they're too sour or too small to be enjoyed? The following article will tell you how to know when blueberries are ready to be picked and the best seasons for blueberry picking all across America.
Blueberries are flowering plants native to North America known as Vaccinium Cyanococcus. Blueberry plants are usually small and close to the ground. The plants are known as shrubs or plants, not trees or vines. When blueberries begin to grow, they begin as hard, green berries. Soon they become more purple, and finally the royal blue that we associate with ripe blueberries.
Recently, blueberries have been identified as a "superfood" in the United States, which is a food that provides extreme benefits when eaten. Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants, which minimises the amount of free radicals in the human body. Blueberries are used in juices, pies, jams and jellies, cakes, muffins, salads, or can be eaten alone. Blueberries are a delicious and healthy snack for both children and adults.
Blueberries grow all over the United States. Blueberries especially thrive in New Jersey, Oregon, North Carolina, Washington, California, Florida and Michigan, but Maine is the largest producer of blueberries in the world. This does not mean you will not be able to find blueberries in other states, but if you are considering starting a blueberry farm, the above states are the best locations to start planting.
The most popular varieties of blueberries are lowbush blueberries (which grow in Maine), and highbush blueberries (which grow in Michigan). Lowbush blueberry plants usually only grow to about 35 centimetres, or 13.7 inches. The more common blueberry because it is the most commercially grown is the highbush blueberry, which grows to about 13 feet tall. Regardless of its height, highbush blueberry plants are known as bushes and not trees. In the South, Rabbiteye blueberry shrubs are popular, while in the Appalachian Mountains, hillside blueberries are the species that is most likely to grow. If you are picking up blueberries in the supermarket, you are likely eating highbush berries, although all species of blueberries are edible.
Blueberry-picking season depends on the geographical location of your blueberries. Although blueberry bushes grow year round, the time of year you will see the most blueberries on the East Coast is during the summer months. Blueberries begin to ripen as the weather gets warmer in May, and they continue to ripen until about September. Although it is possible to pick blueberries at other times of the year in United States locations like Florida and California, many of the blueberries that will arrive at your grocery store during the winter have been held in temperature-controlled storage since they were picked in the summer. To date, most blueberries are grown commercially in Maine and Michigan, despite the weather limitations.