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BLUEBERRIES: Is it my imagination??

  • m

are the commercially raised ones sold in supermarkets today much bigger in size but also with minimal flavor??

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  1. MarkG, clearly a person who understands the importance of fruit!

    No it is not your imagination. The steroid era blueberries are essentially flavourless.

    Fortunately, I live in an area with access to wonderful wild blueberries. I gorge on them in August, then freeze a bunch to eat throughout the rest of the year. Worth the freezer space!

    1. I agree, must be the steriods in the blueberries! Same with California Strawberries (sorry to the people in Ca) the California Strawberries are big but devoid of flavor (well, at least the ones we get here on Long Island) The smaller LI strawberries are bursting with flavor, same with the wild or cultivated blueberries we get here.

      2 Replies
      1. re: imhungryletseat

        Buy your produce locally for best quality, wherever you live. Local strawberry growers in CA that I frequent sell a great product bursting with flavor. The mass market strawbs and other perishable produce grown for consumers across the continent will be inferior for the most part. Imagine what ripe LI fruit would look like shipped to supermarkets in CA.

        1. re: imhungryletseat

          No need to apologize. Any produce that's shipped long distances has to be bred for durability first; it's also usually picked green so that it becomes "ripe" when it hits its destination. Supermarkets also tend to market fruit based on appearance. Taste, alas, often comes a distant third. This is true even in California, where much of the produce is locally produced. I made the mistake of buying some "local," "organic" blueberries at the supermarket yesterday. Blech. But the berries we've been buying at the farmer's market (especially the raspberries and blackberries) have been amazing.

        2. I am turning blue from so many blueberries!!!

          Living in Oregon we have a great local farmers market with great berries of all kinds. Several of the vendors specialize in Oregon Blueberries. Many of the larger varieties while they look great do not have as intense flavor. The smaller ones usually have better flavor, every vendor I buy from will say the same thing.

          Season got a little late start due to cooler weather but berries are everywhere now.

          1. *sigh* It's the story with all fruits and veggies, industrially produced.

            Try a peach lately? They're disgusting. They don't even ripen if you leave them on the windowsill. Just turn overly sweet and mushy. Yuck.

            1. Trader Joe's carries large ones and small ones. The small ones are wild.

              4 Replies
              1. re: lgss

                We have large, real ones in Michigan at my farmer's market, and they taste like real blueberries. We also have real peaches, and they taste fantastic.

                Some of the tastelessness stems from the fact that some fruit is picked and chilled before it is shipped. It prolongs the life, but robs fruit of its flavor. That's another reason to look for local produce whenever possible.

                1. re: brendastarlet

                  Hi Brenda
                  Where in Michigan do you live? None of the farmer's markets around here (Plymouth/Canton) that I have visited have peaches worth a darn.

                  1. re: SonyBob

                    The Ann Arbor Farmer's Market had beautiful peaches this a.m. This is the early crop, but they were very flavorful. Also check out the Produce Station on South State Street.

                    1. re: brendastarlet

                      I'm finding good peaches at Royal Oak farmers market too.

              2. You are not imagining things. In a pint of these, I'll usually only find a quarter of them to be actually sweet and really blueberry-ish in flavor. The rest is usually very mild in aroma. Over the years, I've found the way to go is to wait for Maine wild blueberries. They are the best I've had.

                1. Locally grown and super-fresh is the only way to go-- and I only just really appreciated how true this is last week! For whatever reason, it was the first time I'd ever bought blueberries at a farmer's market. O... M... G. What a difference! They were exploding with flavor! I think they ruined me for life on anything that comes in a jewel box.

                  1. I'm not sure what your definition of "today" is. Blueberries have been one of my favorites fruits for over 30 years. All we've ever bought is the kind available in supermarkets, and I don't think what I eat today is all that different from what I ate as a kid. The berries come from South Carolina, then North Carolina, then Jersey, and sometimes Michigan. Sometimes they're huge, firm, and sweet; sometimes they're huge, firm, and tart; sometimes they're medium size, a little mushy, but flavorful. It all depends on the crop, the delivery time, and storage, I suppose. I always give them a good eyeball in the store, looking for freshness and so on.

                    I'll have to give the farmers' market varieties a try. But at $5 for a half-pint, they can never be main source of blueberry happiness.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Angela Roberta

                      You're going to hate me. I just paid $15.99 for a five-pound box. I've been eating them, freezing them, and giving them away.

                      1. re: brendastarlet

                        The blueberries at the produce stand are twice the price and half the size of the ones on sale in the supermarkets these days, but they have ten times the flavor. I'd rather pay more and get the real deal.

                    2. Not all large blueberries are tasteless, it just depends on where you buy them and what kind they are. I have gorgeous, large blueberries in my backyard that are simply amazing. I have three different bushes with three very different berries being produced (please grow faster, please?). All are good.

                      So far this year, all of the grocery blues have been crap but I must admit, the Farmer Market berries aren't coming even close to as good as they were last year.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sebetti

                        Three (or more) different cultivars get much better cross pollination. That's my minimum for my landscaping clients...

                        1. re: sebetti

                          I buy local blueberries from the farmer's market and they've never packed the wallop that the wild blueberries of Maine do. The wild Maine blueberries were the size of B-B'ss, the local variety the size of English peas. What domestic varieties should we be looking for if we wish to plant?

                          1. re: RGC1982

                            Pick your own is the way to go. Here in western New England, there are local berries that are giant and so sweet it is unbelivable. However, first pickings are the larger sweeter berries. Subsequent pickings on the same bushes are much smaller but still sweet berries. We also have varying varieties that seem smaller as the later in the season they ripen. August berries are definitely smaller and not as sweet as the July variety but that is the joy of berry picking. You never know from week to week what you will get.

                            1. re: lonborgfan

                              I'm pretty happy with the Jersey blueberries from the supermarket, still better than the frozen ones I eat in winter. One year I picked wild berries which tasted wonderful, but not worth the trouble, and you have to watch out for ticks (Lyme disease).

                          2. You mean blueberries the size of blackberries, yup scary food science!
                            In NJ blueberry season has arrived and my family & I will enjoy them but the minute the season is over we bid farewell to the real deal. Thankfully, blueberries freeze well in ice cube trays.

                            never, I'm sorry you hesitate. Having the ability to pick your own is so enjoyable and helpful to the farms.

                            1. They are horrible. I would rather buy/use the frozen wyman maine blueberries. But I grew up on the small wild blueberries so to me the bigger cultivated ones never had much taste to me.

                              1. As a recovering Jerseyite and Maine transplant, I rarely eat the Jersey Giants and can't wait for blueberry season here. In my youth we used to pick wild Jersey blueberries and Pennsylvania mountain huckleberries. Both were excellent.
                                I agree w/ HillJ about scary food science and the Jersey Bluegrapeberry.
                                Maine blueberries are a natural, wild product; the largest income producing crop in the state, even more than Maine potatoes, and the flavor is sooo good. They are hand picked, many fields are organic and the barrens are burned over (old Native American technique) to increase yield w/o fertilizers.
                                My 30 year old son is home for a month and we are having wonderful philosophical discussions, while eating blueberries, plopped down in the blueberry patches behind our house. It's a riot to watch our chocolate lab eating them off the bush. She smiles! We rake our own and freeze them.
                                Just a side note. Bartlett's Estate Winery makes excellent, award winning fruit wines and their French Oak Dry Blueberry wine is listed on Wine Investor Magazine. Check them out on line, they ship if state law allows. I worked there one summer 7 years ago and will never forget the irony of the day I shipped out 3 cases of blueberry wine to 3 different addresses in Napa Valley!
                                Now, Jersey tomatoes are another matter all together!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                  "Now, Jersey tomatoes are another matter all together!"

                                  True! We've been enjoying tomato sandwiches for weeks! Not one complaint except the notion that these too will leave us soon enough!

                                  Jersey corn has been inconsistent this season and late to arrive...

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    We are having a green winter and my tomatoes refuse to turn red! Bumper blueberry crop though. Great mushroom picking. Record red tides, so bad shell fish harvesting. What weird weather. Blame it on global warming, I guess.