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Chilean Blueberries

 

We have transitioned seamlessly from domestically grown blueberries to delicious blueberries grown in Chile, the largest producer of imported organic blueberries, where it’s summer during our winter. Chile lies along the western coast of South America at opposite ends of the equator of the United States and stretches over 2,700 miles long, the equivalent of going from Southern California to British Columbia, Canada. It is never more than 110 miles wide at any point and runs from the world’s most arid desert in the north to the Antarctic Circle in the south. In between, the land passes through forests, mountains, valleys, volcanoes, lakes, glacier fields and a wide range of climate zones. California and Chile have very similar coastal, central valley and mountain climates with the combination of warm and cool seasons blueberries need to grow best. They are mainly grown in the central valley of Maule where the rainfall is abundant, temperatures are cooler than in the north and the summer mornings are foggy.

From now until January blueberries will be available in smaller 4.4 and 6 oz packs as the season starts. The prices of blueberries will be a bit higher for now due to the limited supply coming from the Northern part of Chile and because they are being shipped by airplane. The blueberries will be super fresh and the time between being picked and being shipped could be as little as two days. As we start the new year blueberries will be more in abundance, packed in 8 oz containers or larger and shipped by boat, which means lower prices at the grocery store.

When choosing blueberries look for firm, plump, fragrant, dark blue berries with a dusty white bloom. The white bloom is the blueberry’s natural protection against the sun and is a sign of freshness. Always check the underside of the container for any wet spots or staining. Discard any soft, moldy, or crushed berries.

Blueberries are a super food and are full of anti-oxidants, along with being a good source of vitamin C, vitamin E, manganese and heart-healthy fiber. Store berries at home in the original plastic storage container from the market to let the air circulate around the berries and prevent humidity from building up. Blueberries will arrive from Chile through March, when the domestic season starts up again.

One of my favorite recipes is blueberry cobbler and now I can look forward to making it outside of the summer months. It is super simple and you will impress your friends with how delicious it is. Click here for the blueberry cobbler recipe

 

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