Friday, April 2, 2021

Fresh blueberries

There are three main types of blue that are native to the Eastern United States:
1. “Highbush”
2. “Lowbush” and
3. “Rabbiteye”

Most fresh market blueberries are from highbush plants and most processed blueberries are from lowbush plants. Highbush blueberries together with the other commercial blueberry species are ranked as the second most economically important berry after strawberries in the U.S.

Once the fruit is harvested, storage temperature is the most important postharvest factor affecting the keeping quality of the fruit. Fresh blueberries keep best at 32 °F and 85% relative humidity. Blueberries for fresh market should be plump, firm, uniformly blue; free from moisture, trash, and decay. The best harvest maturity is pH 3.43 - 3.73 and soluble solids of 10 - 15 percent.

Fresh blueberries are available year-round to U.S. consumers due to regional growing areas in the U.S. and imports from other countries.

Manual harvesting is best for high quality fresh market fruit and it is most important for growers of blueberries to provide top quality fruit. Fresh market fruit is generally harvested by hand. This allows selection of ripe fruit with little bruising. Pickers carry five-quart collection buckets on their belts. When filled, the worker will empty the buckets or exchange it for empty buckets with a harvest supervisor.

Blueberries for the fresh market are air cleaned to remove debris. All berries are then graded and sorted. Fruit destined for the fresh market are packed in clear plastic clamshells.

It is estimated that up to 40% of the fresh berries are used for culinary purposes and the remainder are eaten fresh.
Fresh blueberries

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