Blueberry

Blueberries have become something of a fetish in modern health food culture. The berry is added to vitamins, dietary supplements, promising that its composition and beneficial properties will make eyesight sharper, waist thinner, and brain more active. Is this really true and what does blueberry actually hide in itself?

Product history

Blueberry history begins in North America. The local population used the berry for cooking and medicinal decoctions. The Indians used not only the berries of the plant, but also the leaves. Blueberries were dried, boiled, consumed raw. Soaked fruits, ground into porridge, were used for cosmetic purposes: they were applied to the face or sensitive areas of the body. The berry moisturized, nourished and restored the affected dermis.

In the 17th century, with an increase in the number of immigrants, the popularity of blueberries also increased. The berry migrated to Europe, where it went through a long path of cultivation and selection. Initially, 15 varieties of blueberries were bred, half of which have taken root and are distributed on the modern market.

Despite the efforts of breeders, the berry did not become popular in the countries of Central Europe. Consumers still look at blueberries with distrust and opt for the more familiar and proven plants of the lingonberry family ( cowberry, blueberry, cranberry). In their historical homeland, despite prejudices, blueberries are very popular and are present in the diet of the majority of the population.

Distribution

Blueberries grow in all regions of the Northern Hemisphere, love temperate or cold climates. Most often grows in the forest zone, swamps, peat bogs, upper mountain belt, tundra, along streams and rivers. Geographic centers of berry distribution: North America (Alaska, California, Newfoundland), Eurasia (Iceland, Great Britain, Transbaikalia, Yugoslavia, Mongolia, Spain, Italy).

General characteristics

Blueberries are formed on small bushes that reach no more than 1 meter in height. The branches of the shrub are curved, smooth and plastic, painted in a gray tint. The length of the leaves does not exceed 3 centimeters. Before forming a fruit, the shrub develops a beautiful five-toothed flower, painted white or pinkish. The berry is formed from these flowers and reaches 1-2 cm in diameter. The fruits are rounded, painted in a grayish-blue color.

The berries ripen by August, become soft, with a delicate taste and a deep blue tint. Blueberries, harvested at the end of August, are considered the most juicy and rich.

It is important to take into account the specific structure of the berry when transporting. The fruits are easily crushed, burst and become unsuitable for consumption. Carefully pack blueberries into containers (glass jars or heavy wooden crates), trying to avoid potholes and bumps on the way to the finish line.

Previously, blueberries were considered an intoxicating and harmful berry. The reason for this is a banal inattention. Unformed blueberries are often confused with wild rosemary. It is this plant that has an intoxicating effect, provokes headaches and nausea. The consequence of such a mistake is the specific nicknames for blueberries (drunkard, gonobobel), which are still common among the people.

Useful properties of the berry

Diuretic effect

The acids that make up the berry normalize the physiological processes in the body. Blueberries have a beneficial effect on the diuretic system: it increases the rate of urine formation and increases urination. With urine, harmful stagnant substances, excess fluid and salt are excreted from the body.

Antiscorbutic effect

Scurvy develops due to a lack of vitamin C. Blueberries are one of the leading foods in this vitamin content, which will restore the balance and prevent the development pathologies.

Improvement of metabolic processes

Pectin, which is part of the fruit, has a beneficial effect on the gastrointestinal tract, accelerates metabolism, which leads to weight loss.

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Antioxidant effect

Juice obtained from blueberries is the leader in the amount of vitamins and beneficial acids. Juice provokes lipid oxidation, maintenance of the functionality of biomembranes, development of the body's energy potential.

Blueberries act as a natural antiseptic. It sterilizes the body and protects it from external pathogenic influences.

Blueberries are allowed to be consumed during the diet. The calorie content of the product is 37 kcal per 100 grams.

Chemical composition
Useful substances Content substances (based on 100 grams of berries)
Dry matter 13.44 g
Organic acid 0.54 g
Sugar 9.23 g
Pectin 0.47%
Carotenoids 0.57 mg
Anthocyanins 1659.50 mg
Catechin 103.40 mg
Flavonol 103.40 mg
Vitamin composition
Vitamins Vitamin content in milligrams (from races couple per 100 grams of berries)
Thiamine (B1) 0.02
Riboflavin (B2) 0.02
Nicotinic acid (PP) 0.3
Ascorbic acid (C) 16
Retinol (A) 0.29
Iron 16
Phosphorus 13
Calcium 0.8

The therapeutic effect of the berry

Blueberries are part of medicines, used in pure form to treat diseases. The berry is able to cure:

  • pathologies of the cardiovascular system;
  • diseases of the gastrointestinal tract;
  • bronchitis, influenza, pneumonia, fever;
  • low level of immune protective function;
  • diabetes mellitus;
  • dysentery;
  • metabolic disorders;
  • insomnia;
  • hypertension;
  • obesity.

The medicinal effect is achieved only in combination with medication prescribed by the doctor. Fruits can enhance the effect of the medicine and complement the treatment, and not completely replace it.

Berry cosmetic effect

Blueberry is a frequent guest of luxury niche brands, specialty drugstore brands and mass market cosmetics. Most often, the berry is part of the "anti-age" means. It acts on the dermis as an antioxidant : it minimizes the manifestations of aging and withering of the epithelium, smoothes fine mimic wrinkles, and makes the skin more even and elastic.

Cosmetologists recommend using blueberries not only as a means of fighting wrinkles, but also to prevent skin aging. The berry nourishes the skin with useful substances as much as possible, which will prolong your youth for several years.

Blueberry is responsible for the SPF level of a cosmetic product. The berry is able to protect the skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. If you still received an excessive dose of the sun and burned, then apply blueberry cream or gel to the damaged areas. It will have an antiseptic, nourishing and regenerating effect.

It is common to prepare a rejuvenating blueberry mask at home. Several ways to use the fruit:

  • The fruit can be enriched in creams and serums for daily care. Grind the fruits and add them to your favorite night cream if you want to speed up its action and improve the result;
  • Blueberries can be used to make homemade creams, oils, and scrubs. Choose a complex of essential oils that suit a particular skin type, mix with crushed berries and apply to the face. If you want to make a scrub, take small abrasive particles of a plant product (for example, coffee or apricot kernels) and mix with blueberry gruel. The procedure will have not only an exfoliating, but also a nourishing effect.

Use in cooking

Most often, wild berries are consumed fresh. It is added to salads, main courses and desserts. The sweet and sour taste of blueberries will complement a sweet curd dessert, meat quiche or cheese plate.

Berries are frozen, dried, juiced, made into jams or eaten directly from the garden. Vitamin and chemical composition, at the same time, practically does not differ and retains its beneficial properties.

Crushed berries that cracked during transportation (or simply overripe) can be used to make homemade wine. A characteristic berry note will appear in the drink, which you will not feel in the usual wine from a nearby supermarket. You can make amazing kvass from "fermented" blueberries.

Blueberry recipes

Oatmeal, blueberries, coconut and dark chocolate breakfast

We need:

  • oatmeal or oatmeal - 60 g;
  • dark chocolate (70% or more cocoa) to taste;
  • flaked coconut - 2 tablespoons;
  • blueberries - ½ cup.

Preparation

Rinse the oatmeal (no need to rinse the cereal), place on the stove, bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat and stir the mass until readiness. If you are used to cooking oatmeal with milk, then use the usual amount of milk for 1 serving. Melt the dark chocolate in a water bath and leave it to cool. Combine the finished ingredients in the following sequence: oatmeal, chocolate, coconut, blueberries. Stir the mass after adding each new ingredient.

Cooking time for this oatmeal is 10 minutes. A boost of healthy carbohydrates and vitamins will ensure normal functioning until lunch (or second breakfast), and chocolate will help you not be tempted to sweets during the day.

Green salad with turkey meat, vegetables and berries

We need:

  • ) fillet turkey - 150 g;
  • zucchini - 50 g;
  • carrots - 50 g;
  • onions - 10 g;
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  • green apples of sour varieties - 50 g;
  • stalk celery - 50 g;
  • lettuce - 100 g;
  • blueberries - 70 g;
  • red currant - 50 g;
  • cranberries - 50 g;
  • Greek yogurt without fillers - 200 g;
  • spices to taste.

Preparation

The salad is extremely simple and quick to prepare. This "vitamin bomb" is a great option for a snack or addition to your lunch/evening diet. If serving a salad for dinner, then make sure that the yogurt is low fat (5%). For the lunch option, you can provide a fatter filler. Grind all the ingredients, mix in a deep plate. You can add olive oil for more flavor. It will reveal the vegetable component of the salad and make the berry taste more clear and rich.

Contraindications and side effects

Pregnant and lactating women, patients with biliary dyskinesia, ulcer, gastritis should limit the use of the berry. The ban on blueberries for pregnant women is associated with the risk of developing an allergic reaction in the baby. It is best to gradually introduce the berry into the diet with the transition to complementary foods.

It is not recommended to exceed the daily intake of forest fruits. If you do not complain about health, then you can eat up to 500 grams of berries in any form per day.

Exceeding the daily allowance leads to symptoms that are very similar to alcohol intoxication. A person’s condition worsens sharply, nausea, vomiting, pain in the head and muscles appear.

Collection, preparation and storage of blueberries

Berries are harvested with a special tool - a comb. Blueberries that have not been sold and consumed fresh are harvested for the winter. Harvesting starts in July and ends in September (the period of intensive growth and berry picking).

Freezing is the easiest and most effective way. The berry will retain useful substances, high nutritional value and taste. The maximum shelf life of frozen blueberries is 1 year. Try to use stocks before the next season of picking and preparing berries. It is recommended to use regular freezer bags. Maintain a constant temperature inside the freezer and remember: thawed berries are not suitable for re-freezing.

If you do not have a quality freezer, you can use the soaking method or two alternative methods: drying or candied. Prepare glass jars with a volume of 0.5 l, rinse thoroughly and sterilize. In such jars you can store jams, jams, fruit drinks and blueberry compotes. The product is stored for about 2 years, but, again, we recommend "refreshing" stocks with the advent of the berry season.