There is a lot of confusion in the blueberry world. Even though most people will think they are talking about the same berry, you might be talking about two different types of blueberries. Many countries refer the berry as blueberries. They might look alike, but can be totally different.
What we Norwegians call blueberries, are actually called bilberries in America. The english people call bilberries, whortleberry. And if I'm not totally wrong, we call American blueberries for Hageblåbær (Garden Blueberries).
See the confusion?
So how to know the difference?
Bilberries (Europen Blueberries) American Blueberries
- Dark red flesh and juice that turns blue - White or translucent flesh.
- Grow on low bushes, separate from - Grow on large bushes,
each other. in bunches.
- Harvest from wild plants. - Harvest from cultivated plants.
- Strong and tart flavor. - Poor, but sweet flavor.
In 2002 Researchers from the Department of Nutrition at the University of Oslo published an article in The Journal of Nutrition, where they confirmed the amount of antioxidant in hundreds of groceries, 19 berries were among them.
Of those 19 berries, Bilberries came on third place, while blueberries came on 12th place. But in total of all groceries, Bilberries got 5th place and Blueberries got 16th place. So the obvious choice to eat is bilberries, but you can't get them everywhere, and they hardly sell at the local grocery store.
Where to locate wild blueberries?
Naturally widespread in Europe, western Asia and in the Rocky Mountains in western North America. In Norway you can find them up to a 1700 m a.s.l.
- Vitamin A, B complex, C og E
- Natural fiber
- Natural acids
- Antioxidants (Flavonoid) - Helps to protect the body's cells and prevents the body from oxidative stress. In other words, Helps us preventing to age. Yes your age number will climb, but you will look younger compared to your age.
Do you know that...
- The blueberry leaf and berries are used as herbal medicine. WARNING: Before you use it as a herbal medicine for your condition, please consult a doctor first!
- Drinking blueberry leafs as a herbal tea are often used for high blood sugar. It could therefor help for Diabetes.
- Drinking blueberry leafs as a herbal tea can also help for urine infection. But this has a low impact compared to other herbal treatments for the same concern.
- Dried Blueberries help for diarrhea. But to much fresh blueberries can give the opposite effect, which then helps for constipation.
- Blueberries are favorable for better eye site. Flavonoids strengthens blood circulation and thus oxygen supply to your eyes. Dim vision, Night vision, Glaucoma, Cataracts.
- Blueberries can also help for blood circulation and varicosity vain.
- Berries are a lot more healthier than fruits.
In 2014 three nutritionists on assignment for NRK were looking for the healthiest food. Because of the lower sugar content and a higher content of vitamins and minerals, blueberries became one of the winners.
- Blueberry juice has been used to color textiles
- It is safe for dogs to eat blueberries.
Veterinarians and dog nutritions both agree that it is safe for dogs to eat blueberries, but to much blueberries can give problems, like gastric upset and diarrhea. The health benefits for humans that I wrote above, applies to dogs too, but of course talk to your veterinarian if you are not shore. Especially if you have a dog with digestive problems.
What I do love about animals is, they normally know what is good for them to eat and what is not. But we humans might have trained that a little bit away from todays pets. My dogs actually pick there own blueberries when they come along on a blueberry hike.
- Dangerous parasite approaching Norwegian blueberries, but no reason to panic yet.
When I went to Folkehøyskole in 2007-2009, we had a dog sledding trip to Sweden. There were no problems traveling there. Today it is a lot more expensive to take your dog to Sweden. The reason for that is because a dangerous parasite Echinococchus multilocularisis approaching Norway through foxes. Norwegians might know it as "Rødrevens dvergbendelorm". It reached Sweden in 2011 and we are now trying to prevent it from coming to Norway.
Your dog could be a carrier for the parasite. So to help preventing it from reaching Norway a lot faster, please treat your dog for the parasite if you leave the country. The parasite is not dangerous for your dog, it is dangerous for YOU.
The parasite can give people cancerous cysts in both liver and brain. Disease development is very slow, and it makes it difficult to detect.
What has this to do with blueberries?
The infection occurs when the Cestoda (bendelorm) eggs from the fox urine settles on blueberries that people pick and eat.
You could reduce the risk of infection by washing the berries, but if you really want to be safe you need to cook the food. Freezing them will not help. They can handle temperature down to -80 Celsius.
Keep in mind to wash your hands too. The eggs can be in animals fur.
Remember to not panic, Veterinary Institute are monitoring the situation and has for now not detected E. multilocularis (Cestoda, rødrevens bendelorm) in wild carnivores in Norway.
- Blueberries are linked to superstition and legends.
- Pregnant woman shouldn't go out into the blueberry forrest. There kids could get there body full of molds.
- Don't pick blueberries on Sundays. If you did, Evil spirits could do hideous tricks to punish you.
- An old legend say that virgin Mary is the reason for blueberries growing on earth. She met a poor shepherd boy who complained that he was so hungry. The boy asked if she could let it grow a nourishing fruit on the mountain, as it did in the valley. Virgin Mary took a garland from her hair and spread it out over the mountains and forests. And from that time on, you could find blueberries in the forests and mountains.
- Blueberries looks blue because of a thin layer of wax on top of the otherwise black berry. Some berries are missing this wax layer and appears black. In the old days it was thought that there was something mysterious about these berries. These berries were called "bear lick" (bjørnesleik) because it was believed that a bear had licked the wax away.