Blueberry: Complete Guide to All You Need to Know

Let me welcome you to this blog where we will talk about the characteristics of the blueberry (both the fruit and the plant), the main types of blueberries, their properties, their history, their main exporters and importers, how they are grown and some products made from this fruit. Stay tuned!

What is the blueberry and what are its characteristics?      

Scientific nameVaccinium myrtillus
Common nameBlueberry
Place of originNorth America
HabitatPlants and shrubs that grow under trees, wetlands, and coniferous forests. 
DistributionMainly in Northern Europe, North America, and Asia.

Characteristics of the blueberry plant  

Blueberry is a fruit with a sweet and sour taste. The plant from which this fruit grows is called blueberry and is found in places such as the United States, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Chile, and Colombia, among others.  

It is approximately 1.5m tall, and its leaves are commonly oval-shaped and green, except in autumn when they turn red and winter when they tend to fall off.

Description of the blueberry fruit   

The first data on the consumption of blueberry are from the 1600s in the indigenous communities of North America. Its fruit is a round, juicy berry about 1 cm in diameter that contains no seed. Its weight is about 0.4 grams.

In its first year, a mature plant of this species can produce 4.5 kilos of blueberries, but this figure decreases in the second year, giving only 1 kilo per plant.

Blueberries in white bowl

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Types of blueberries       

There are two main types of blueberries, namely:

Highbush blueberry     

Scientific nameVaccinium corymbosum
Common nameHighbush blueberry
Place of originUnited States
HabitatConiferous forests and heaths
DistributionThe Alps, central Apennines, and Pyrenees of Europe, Asia, Central America, United States, and Canada.

This blueberry is dark bluish, hence its name blueberry in English, and has the shape of a small sphere with a middle hole of juicy texture.  

It belongs to the large botanical family of Ericaceae where you can find trees, shrubs, and plants that usually bear fruit.  

They are found in the Alps, which are a series of mountains located in central Europe, in the Apennines (mountains that extend from north to south in Italy), and in the Pyrenees, consisting of mountain chains.

In the mountain ranges that border Spain and France; in Asia in countries such as China and India; in Mexico (Central America); in the United States in states such as Florida, New Jersey, Washington, and California; and in Canada in the provinces of British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.


Scientific nameVaccinium subgénero Oxycoccus
Common nameCranberry
Place of originEurope and Asia
HabitatCold zone of the northern hemisphere, northern Europe, northern Asia and North America
DistributionUnited States, Canada, Eastern Europe, southern Chile, and Argentina.

At first, this fruit is white, but it becomes deep red when ripe. its shape is round like the blueberry, but it is larger and its flavor is distinguished by being slightly more acidic. It also belongs to the Ericaceae, specifically in the genus of shrubs where it is extracted.

It is found in states such as Florida, New Jersey, Washington, and California (United States), provinces such as British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia (Canada), in countries such as Poland, Russia, Ukraine and Baltic countries (northern Europe).

In northern Asia, they can be seen in the Asian part of Russia in cities such as Novosibirsk and in cities such as Temuco, Puerto Montt and Valdivia (southern Chile) or Tucumán and Salta in Argentina.


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 Properties and benefits of cranberries     

We invite you to see the cranberry nutritional table per 100gr. Taken from Vegaffinity.

CompositionQuantity (gr)CDR(%)
MineralsQuantity (mg)CDR(%)
VitaminsQuantity (mg)CDR(%)
Vitamin A0.010.6%
Vitamin B10.021.7%
Vitamin B20.021.5%
Vitamin B30.090%
Vitamin B1200%
Vitamin C2224.4%

(Taken from Vegaffinity)

Once we have seen its nutritional composition, we will continue with the properties of blueberries.

They prevent cardiovascular diseases  

Blueberries contain Pterostilbene, an antioxidant element that plays a key role in preventing diabetes and heart disease. This substance is also used for the treatment of infections.

They improve memory   

Blueberries are rich in anthocyanin which, in addition to giving them their red or blue color, is a substance that optimizes memory, combating neurological damage as a result of diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.  

Useful in the treatment of urinary infections  

The expansion of bacteria is stopped by increasing the urine acid when consuming this fruit. Active substances such as fructose and proanthocyanidins act by preventing the adhesion of E. coli bacteria.

Key to weight loss  

With their low calorie and sugar content and rich in antioxidants and fiber, blueberries are really effective for weight loss. Their high fiber content promotes the burning of fats.

Important for eye health  

According to several studies, the anthocyanins in blueberries are effective to protect vision and help to regenerate it in case of damage to the central and acute vision in diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, or retinitis pigmentosa.

History and origin of the blueberry  

Blueberries come from North America where they are also cultivated. Its name comes from the word cranberry, which is derived from the word craneberry.

The indigenous people of this region were the first to use them to prepare various foods, and dyes and to treat wounds. In 1621 it was introduced to the English colonists, who later used it for their first Thanksgiving feast.  

On the other hand, cranberries come from Europe and Asia and have been part of their diet for millennia, and are currently very popular in Scandinavia and Russia.

Blueberry industry  

Know the main producers and importers of cranberry fruit in the world.

Top 5 blueberry producers  

According to FAO, in 2017 global blueberry production increased 53.9% over 2010 with 1.22 million tons.  

Area of blueberries cultivated around the world in 2019: 150,623 hectares more than in 2016, an increase of 40.5% (Procolombia 2019).  

Next, we’ll see the 5 countries with the most tons produced and with the highest export of blueberry:

CountryTons of blueberries produced per year (approx.)
United States236.621

United States  

The United States is the main producer, consumer, exporter and importer of blueberries and constitutes a mega market of more than 275 million consumers.

Blueberries are grown mainly in the United States with figures of 39.6% reaching 236,621 tons.  


Chile has a record of blueberry exports as 8.2% more tons were shipped in the 2020/2021 season compared to the 2019/2020 period. These are data from the Harvest Report prepared by iQonsulting for the Chilean Blueberry Committee.  

SeasonExported tons of blueberry
2020/2021 until week 11118.225 ton
2019/2020108.531 tons (estimate)

These tons represent 18% of exports with respect to the other producers.


Blueberry exports in Peru have been increasing steadily, and an example of this is the 162,000 tons that reached in 2020, representing a value of 1,054 million dollars.  

Graph of Peruvian blueberry exports
Redagrícola on

Taken from: Blueberry Special – Redagrícola

In total, from 2020 to 2021, 162,174 tons were exported of which 75% came from Peruvian sectors such as La Libertad and Lambayeque, specifically 55% of the area of La Libertad. This means that there was a growth of 30% compared to shipments made in the season from 2019 to 2020.

70 Peruvian companies exported blueberries to different countries, 89% of them to the United States and European markets.


In this country, the blueberry is one of the berries with increasing numbers. Huelva is the province with the largest production of blueberries in Spain. It’s also the largest area of production in Europe.  

In 2019, the blueberry cultivated area in this province increased by 7%, as can be seen in the following table.

YearCultivated area
2017/20182.858 hectare
2018/20193.059 hectare


This country has a production of blueberries that reaches 25,000 tons representing 24% of all Europe, it is positioned in second place only being surpassed by Spain.  

Its export percentage averages 19% per year, but the Poles not only export blueberries in large quantities, but also consume them. The demand for this fruit has been growing over the years at a local level.

Top blueberry importers  

In 2017, world imports of fresh blueberries reached US$2,729 million, presenting a growth of 8.3%.  

Apart from being the world’s largest producer, the United States is the largest importer, buying 35.5% of blueberries from the international market, followed by the United Kingdom with 12.4% and the Netherlands with 8.7%. Globally, Europe accounts for 180 grams per capita consumption per year and Asia for 26 grams.

1,555 tons were imported, mainly from New Zealand. The production in 2019 increased by 13% over 2018 to 19,008 tons, while the value increased by 10%. (Procolombia 2019).

Where is blueberry cultivated?    

The United States  

Due to its variety of climates and terrains, the United States is one of the best places to grow blueberries, either for experts, beginners, or people who want to start growing them in the future.  

Another aspect that makes this country one of the best for the harvest of this food is the constant support from the U.S. industry towards this sector, which helps significantly in the implementation of cultivation plans over the years.  

This process is carried out from Florida to New Jersey and from California to Washington. In this country, before blueberries are harvested, they are tested to verify their quality in nurseries and specialized farms; and after verifying their status, they are distributed nationally and internationally.


Blueberries such as the Northern Highbush grow very easily in this territory thanks to its diversity of seasons and the accentuated cold in its winters, therefore the plantation is inactive in this season to bear fruit in summer.  

It’s usually grown in the British Columbia province where we find the city of Vancouver. You would like to know that the water and soil in this region are one of the best when it comes to planting blueberries. Blueberries harvested in Canada are consumed in the country or exported to the United States and China.

Blueberry in Colombia  

In this country, blueberries are grown mainly in Cundinamarca, Boyacá, and Antioquia. According to the Colombian Blueberry Association and Proplantas, more than 500 hectares of blueberries were planted in Colombia in December 2020. In 2017, the country had 120 hectares planted, i.e., this figure quadrupled in only 3 years.

YearCultivated hectares

In 2019, 145 tons of blueberries were exported and there was a turnover of 500 thousand dollars in the country. In 2020, despite Covid-19, exports of blueberries in Colombia increased by 387% compared to 2019 and this was sent to the United States, Chile, the Netherlands, Panama and Aruba.

According to reports from ProColombia, the international sales of blueberry were $1,228,958 dollars in 2020, with the United States being the largest buyer.

At the same time that Colombia has managed to export blueberries, its domestic consumption is increasing more and more, which is why in 2012 blueberry imports were close to USD 97,529 ($282,414).  

How is blueberry cultivated?  

To cultivate this fruit there are a series of requirements that you must take into account. Below, we’ll show you what they are:


The blueberry roots are not very deep, they are usually a few centimeters below ground and have the form of strands that find it difficult to absorb water, which is why it is better to grow in sandy soils.

This soil should have a pH value between 4.5 and 5.5.

As the absorption of water from the root is difficult, it can suffocate, causing the plant to stop growing, so porous soils are ideal for germination.


Although this fruit can adapt to a wide variety of climates, it’s best to grow it in a cool environment, because too much heat affects the growth of the plant and slows down its yield. It must be a cold and dry climate because rain and strong winds make the fruits fall off.  

Method for planting blueberries  

First, remove the weeds, remains of previous crops, and debris to ensure that the plants receive the necessary nutrients. After this, wet the soil before planting and spread earthworm humus.  

Then, introduce the seedlings or cuttings into the soil and leave approximately one meter between each plant and bury them 5 to 10 cm deep, according to the size of the cutting.

Make sure that the soil is moist at all times, but without puddling, and fertilize frequently to stimulate the growth of the stems.

During the first year of planting, fertilize the blueberries and the soil three times with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer: at the beginning of growth, during flowering and when the fruits begin to form. After the first year, the supply of nitrogen is reduced so that they stop elongating, expand their roots and form strong plants.

From the second year of age, in two-year periods, it is recommended to add a light layer of sand to the soil to firm the stems and prevent weeds from growing.

After three years, the blueberry plants are pruned in the spring to bring them to the desired length and to ensure that they remain stable.  

Blueberry harvest  

The first harvest can be done 3 to 5 years after having cultivated the plant. The fruits can be harvested in autumn once they have grown.  When ripe, they are light or dark red in color and have brown seeds.

They can be easily harvested by hand.

Post-harvest of blueberries  

Once the harvest is done, store them in a sealed container in a refrigerator to keep them for at least 28 days. The refrigerator temperature should be between -0.6 and 0º C and with a relative humidity of 95%.

Products made from blueberries

This fruit is often consumed fresh in jellies, cakes, yogurts, smoothies, salads or frozen for making certain pulps. On the other hand, blueberry-based beauty products have been launched on the market. Do you want to know more about them? Keep reading!

Frozen blueberry pulp  

This product has several applications within the culinary world, many of which have been incorporated over time; for example, sorbets, icings, jellies, cocktails, fruit mousses, ice creams and other frozen desserts.

Blueberry sauce  

This sauce is made with cranberries and is used as a condiment for some foods. There are certain ingredients in the sauce that depend on the place: in Europe, they don’t add much sugar and, therefore, it has a more acidic flavor, while in the United States they usually add cinnamon to make it sweeter.   

cranberry sauce
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Blueberry Jam  

Cranberry jam is an essential Scandinavian delicacy. Cranberries are abundant in forested regions and the jam is easy to prepare, which favors its production. It can be preserved well and is an abundant source of vitamin C.  

Blueberry has always been popular in traditional recipes such as potato cake and black pudding. Today, it is used both as a jam in, for example, pancakes, and as a sauce in meat dishes such as Swedish meatballs, beef stew, recipes with offal, and in some regions even with fish such as fried herring.

It is also often used on top of mashed potatoes and traditional Oatmeals, sometimes with cinnamon and a little sugar or honey syrup.  

Cranberry facial oil  

It’s made from seeds that are extracted from cold-pressed cranberry to treat inflamed and pale skin. It also protects the skin from sunlight damage as it absorbs it before it penetrates your skin because blueberry is known for being a light retaining.

By way of closing, one can realize there is a lot more information about the blueberry than we usually expect, not only about how to use it in food, but also about its consumption, production, cultivation, all its advantages and products made with this fruit, but the most important thing is its delicious taste and all that it can bring to your body.

Wouldn’t you dare to try it?