Ontario High Bush Blueberries


The blueberry bush (Vaccinium) is a Native North American Species. Early settlers used the fruit in their diet by incorporating it into a variety of foods and medicine. North America is the largest producer of blueberries and accounts for about 90% of the world’s crops. High bush blueberries are grown in more than 30 states and in provinces like Ontario and BC.

The cultivated blue berry to high bush was the result of early efforts in the 1900’s by Elizabeth White and Dr. Frederick Coville. Over the years, plant breeders have worked to enhance the desired attributes of blueberries such as texture, taste, disease resistance and colour.

General info on blueberries and the season.

A high bush can grow between 5 - 7 feet. High bush berries are larger than wild berries, sweet, tasty and easy to prepare. Some popular ways to serve them are with milk, crème, in pancakes, muffins or pies. Blueberry season runs from early July into late August.

Storage and Handling:

Store berries in a cool refrigerator OR AT 0 degrees C with 90-95%humidity. This will prolong shelf life and reduce moisture loss. Blueberries should be consumed with\in 10-14 days of purchase or they can be frozen up to a year.


Ontario Blueberries are the easiest to harvest, prepare and store. There is no cutting, peeling or pitting! When freezing remember - do not wash blueberries before you freeze them. Place berries one layer deep on baking trays; freeze, then pack in plastic bags or containers. Rinse and drain frozen blueberries just before using.

Why are blueberries blue?

Blueberries are one of the few "true blue" foods. It receives its colour from the high levels of anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is a water-soluble pigment that can range from the colour blue to red. Pigmentation is at its height during the first six days of colourization, this symbolizes the berry’s early stage of maturity.

What is the difference between a cultivated bush and a wild bush? A cultivated Blueberry is a high bush and a wild one is called a low bush. Low bush berries are grown in many parts of Maine and Canada.

Nutritional Information

Blueberries make a delicious low-calorie treat! 125ml (1/2 cup) of blueberries contains only 43 calories and is a good source of vitamin C. They are also low in fat, sodium and are completely cholesterol free.

Blueberries have more to offer than just good looks and good taste. Besides being a good source of Vitamin C and fibre, they have an exciting nutrition story to tell too! Let's check out the facts and look at the nutrition label for blueberries. One cup of blueberries equals one serving. And this amount of blueberries has 15% of the Vitamin C and 14% of the dietary fibre our bodies need every day. That's why blueberries are good sources of these nutrients. Just like all other fruits, blueberries contain no cholesterol or fat and are also low in calories. Blueberries are a great choice when choosing berries this summer!

New studies by USDA scientists and the University of Illinois point to health benefits from eating blueberries that may be as far reaching as preventing cancer and retarding the effects of aging - particularly the loss of memory and motor skills.

The focus has been on flavonoids, including anthocyanins, which are responsible for the intense blue color of wild blueberries. USDA scientists Dr. Ronald Prior and Dr. Guohua Cao from the Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Centre on Aging at Tufts, recently tested some 40 fruits and vegetables and found that blueberries are number one in antioxidant activity. Antioxidants prevent cancer-causing cell damage and may thwart the effects of some age-related diseases. Animals fed a diet of blueberry extract showed fewer changes in brain function due to aging, which could mean improved cognitive and motor skills. USDA researcher Dr. James Joseph attributes the beneficial effect of blueberries to their high anthocyanin content. Another study conducted by Dr. Mary Ann Smith of the University of Illinois looked at a flavonoid that inhibits an enzyme involved in promoting cancer. Of the fruits tested, blueberries showed the greatest anti-cancer activity.

Fresh Blueberries & Frozen Blueberries

Per 1 Cup Serving (140 grams) (Test results obtained from two different samples, sent to two different labs):

Calories Fat (g) Sodium (mg) Total Carbohydrates (g) Dietary Fiber (g) Sugars (g) Protein (g) Vit. A (I.U.) Vit. C (I.U.) Calcium (mg) Iron (mg) Potassium (mg)
83.68 / .83 0.16 / 0.13 0.49 / 0.44 19.36 / 18.91 4.9 / 4 9.24 / 14.9 1.15 / 1.57 64.4 / n.d. 10.33 / 10.96 12.05 / 12.3 0.34 / 0.26 80.04 / 79