MONTREAL, July 17, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Fans of the little blue berry have a great reason to rejoice! This year, they'll be able to enjoy Québec's wild blueberries on their plate sooner than usual. What's more, this summer harvest promises to be bountiful, much to the delight of both young and old!
Usually available as of early August, the little sweet fruit we hold so dear for its flavour and nutritional properties should make its grand appearance in grocery stores and markets across the province in late July. "Our wild blueberry growers are in for another great season, explains Gervais Laprise, Director of the Syndicat des producteurs de bleuets du Québec. While last spring in Saguenay - Lac-St-Jean featured erratic temperatures, the recent rainfalls and sunny periods proved to be a great combination for the little fruit, which has already formed in well-proportioned bunches. This is great news for consumers, who will be able to enjoy the benefits of Québec's fresh wild blueberries sooner."
Great taste and great for you
For Anne-Louise Desjardins, epicure and author of best-selling recipe books, known for her numerous collaborations with the province's most prominent chefs, Québec's wild blueberry can be used in a great many original recipes. "My love affair with wild blueberries started back in my childhood days, when I'd spend mornings picking them in the woods with my godmother, said Ms. Desjardins. Since then, they have been an integral part of my culinary repertoire. For example, I use them to make a delicious carrot and blueberry salad; a barley and shrimp blueberry pilaf; a cold, vanilla yogurt and cantaloupe-based blueberry soup; as well as layered lemon cream with blueberries."
Not only is it delicious, Québec's wild blueberry is a very healthy choice. Indeed, studies have confirmed that, among all small fruits, the wild blueberry offers the greatest antioxidant benefits. Among the many virtues attributed to it is the prevention of various types of cancers and cardiovascular diseases, as well the effects of aging. A single 250 mL cup of wild blueberries contains 87 calories, 4 grams of dietary fibre and the equivalent of 45% of your daily dose of vitamin C.
As such, there is no reason to miss out on the pleasures of Québec's wild blueberries. In order to enjoy them year-round, look for them in the frozen foods section or dry your own blueberries with a paper towel and place them in a freezer bag to preserve their flavour. When you're ready to savour them, just give them a quick wash and you're all set!
Tourist-friendly blueberry farms and forest picking
Planning a stop in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean during your summer vacation? Why not take this opportunity to visit one of its many tourist-friendly, pick-your-own blueberry fields? Check out the Syndicat des producteurs de bleuets du Québec's website, at spbq.ca, for more details on pick-your-own locations. It's a sure-fire way to have some fun!
Visiting spbq.ca will also enable you to learn more about Québec's wild blueberry industry, health benefits, recipes, addresses, as well as maps of forest picking sites.
Wild blueberries are Canada's most grown fruit, taking up over half of the country's fruit-growing land. Exported to more than 30 countries, including the United States, Japan and Germany, Québec's wild blueberries are a source of provincial pride!
About the Syndicat des producteurs de bleuets du Québec
Boasting over 300 Québec-based growers, the Syndicat des producteurs de bleuets du Québec (SPBQ) is Québec's only legally registered association of blueberry growers and pickers. Its mandate includes uniting all provincially-based blueberry growers, blueberry growing corporations and cooperative representatives, studying the protection and development of growers' socio-economic and moral interests, as well as assist growers in producing and marketing blueberries.
For further information:
Sources: www.spbq.ca / www.wildblueberries.com / Brochure of the Québec Produce Marketing Association (QPMA), in collaboration with the Syndicat des producteurs de bleuets du Québec. Coup de cœur pour les bleuets sauvages du Québec!, 2010. www.jaime5a10.ca