Blueberries are a popular treat loaded with health benefits. These tasty berries go great in smoothies, muffins, pancakes, and much more. But where are blueberries grown, and when are they in season?
Blueberries grow in 38 states across the US, as well as in Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia. The fruits are in season in the US from April through to late September, with the peak from mid-June to mid-August. Berries from South America are common in the winter months.
Because blueberry bushes can withstand a range of temperature and environments, we’re lucky to have blueberries available pretty much any time. Let’s find out more about blueberries growing areas, the blueberries season, how to pick ripe berries, and how to store them.
In Which Seasons Can You Get Blueberries?
Blueberries are native to North America where the climate generally favors commercial production.
The berries are in season over the summer months, with the peak running from mid-June to mid-August. Blueberries become readily available in markets across the country during the season.
The blueberries season varies slightly thanks to differences in harvesting times. The growing areas in the south start their harvest early, with blueberries in Florida becoming available in late March or early April. In California, harvesting starts in early May, while Michigan’s blueberry season runs from early July to mid-September.
Half of all blueberries harvested come to your local grocery store during the season and make a perfect summer treat. In-season blueberries are perfect for pancakes, yogurt, waffles, smoothies, oatmeal, cereals, and many other delicious recipes.
The rest of the blueberries harvested go to the production of blueberry-based products. Manufacturers use dried blueberries like this option (on Amazon), concentrates, frozen berries, purees, and canned berries (example also on Amazon) to make different food products such as juices, spreads, and flavorings. These products provide the immense health benefits of blueberries long after the season.
While blueberries are in season until September, the sweet fruits are still available at other times of the year. During the cold winter months, grocery stores import berries from South America, since that region experiences summer when the Northern Hemisphere has its winter season.
Blueberries from outside the country supplement the local produce out of season. If you want to enjoy fresh blueberries throughout the year, watch out for the local and international blueberries season.
Where Are Blueberries Grown?
Blueberries are very resilient and can grow in a range of temperatures and climates across the country and internationally. The US is the world’s largest producer of blueberries, with about 38 states producing blueberries commercially. Much of the produce in the market comes from about 10 states.
Michigan leads in blueberries cultivation, but other areas where blueberries thrive include North Carolina, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Maine, Mississippi, Indiana, California, Oregon, Georgia, Florida, Texas, and Minnesota.
The main species of blueberries in the country are the high-bush, low-bush, and rabbiteye. Farmers grow high-bush and low-bush species commercially.
Much of the fresh produce that comes to local markets is from the high-bush plants, while the low-bush variety produces berries ideal for processing.
Blueberries also grow outside the country in Canada’s British Columbia in the North. South of the country, Peru leads in blueberries production. Other growing areas include Chile, Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico.
Do Blueberries Need to Be Refrigerated?
Blueberries are highly perishable and need to be refrigerated to stay fresh. If not stored properly, your fresh fruits quickly become mushy, rot, or develop mold.
Whether you’ve picked or purchased your berries, refrigerating helps maintain freshness for 5 to 10 days. The berries are delicate and won’t last long at room temperature.
If you want to refrigerate your blueberries, consider the following tips:
- Don’t wash the blueberries before storage.
- Make sure your berries are completely dry before refrigeration.
- Use a breathable container for refrigeration.
- Keep checking the berries every few days and remove any spoiled berries before they contaminate the rest.
Freezing is another storage option for your blueberries though they might lose some of their flavor in the process. Frozen berries are great for smoothies.
How to Tell If Blueberries Are Good After Storage
Blueberries can go bad quickly. So if you want to eat the berries or use them in a recipe after storage, make sure to confirm that the fruits are still good. Do a visual check for any rotten berries and remove these from the bunch.
Feel the berries and check that the fruits are firm. Good berries are firm, while rotten or overripe berries are mushy. Spoiled blueberries also have discoloration and moldy growth. Before you eat or use the blueberries, don’t forget to wash them.