Organic wild blueberries are a great choice for health-conscious consumers: LOHAS reports that consumers perceive wild foods as healthier and better tasting, according to Paul Whitman, category manager for Organic Fruit & Vegetables at Global Organics, based in Cambridge Mass.

Organic wild blueberries are low in calories, high in fiber, and with twice the antioxidants of cultivated blueberries due to the much higher concentration of the flavonoid anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is found in the skins of the blueberries and gives them their characteristic deep rich blue color. In people, anthocyanin has been proven to support healthy blood flow which gives the brain the energy it needs to perform at its best!

Organic wild blueberry purée can be used a very wide variety of baked goods, Whitman explains. Their smaller size means they are less watery than conventional berries. They provide an extremely flavorful ingredient, with a distinctive deep blue color – both the flavor and color are maintained during the baking process.

Functionality benefits are key.

“Within any one wild blueberry field there are thousands of genetically different plants growing berries with many different flavor profiles,” Whitman says. “Once blended, the purée is made up of all of this complexity: tangy, tart, succulent and sweet all at once. Wild blueberries simply have the most intense blueberry flavor!”

Wild blueberries have a higher skin to ratio than cultivated, Whitman adds. This delivers less water, more fiber, and more antioxidants per ounce than cultivated. With less water, the purée offers more intense flavor.

Creative usage examples are endless.

  • Breakfast baked goods: scones, muffins, toaster pastries and of course pancakes
  • Desserts: pies, cheesecakes, pound cakes, cupcakes
  • Snacks: energy bars, fruit bars

Care and handling

Wild blueberries grow on bushes that are quite low to the ground and are not typically machine harvested. Special hand harvesters have been developed to help pickers scoop the berries from the bushes without damaging the plants or bruising the berries. Because these blueberries will be processed immediately into purée (not shipped as whole fruit) they are picked at peak ripeness.

Wild blueberry season is typically July through early September. Global Organics sells organic wild blueberries that have been gently picked, sorted, washed, and thoroughly inspected. The berries are then milled, puréed, and screened to remove seeds. The purée is pasteurized and aseptically packaged – preserving the natural flavors, colors, and nutritional value without the need for any added preservatives.

Historical perspective

Wild blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) are one of the few berries native to North America. Wild blueberries have grown naturally for more than 10,000 years in the harsh and cold climates of northern New England and northeastern Canada.

Being a wild crop, within each field there are thousands of different plant varieties. To protect themselves in this challenging environment, wild blueberries create a large number of beneficial phytonutrients. While plants develop phytonutrients for their own protection, they are also very beneficial to us too!

Organic wild blueberries aren’t just good for you, they are also super flavorful! Cultivated fruits are often engineered to grow the biggest, the fastest or the hardiest varieties. The ‘best flavor’ isn’t generally the first concern for plant engineers. With thousands of naturally occurring blueberries plants within one field, the flavor is very complex and intensely ‘blueberry-y’.

Founded in 1992, Global Organics Ltd. is an organic food ingredient supplier with operations in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Product offerings include non-GMO and certified organic cane sugar products, sweeteners, chocolate and cocoa, and fruit and vegetable specialties. All food ingredients meet strict, globally recognized food safety standards. With a focus on quality, purity and sustainability, the company and its long-term agricultural supplier partners collaborate to bring social and economic benefits to local communities and to restore the Earth’s resources.

Paul Whitman is Global Organics’ category manager for Organic Fruit & Vegetables. He has a strong background in supply chain, purchasing and analytics. He consults with industry and supports manufacturers with technical issues, product recommendations, product trends and certification details.