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Blueberries- Can you taste the difference?  RSS feed

 
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I am currently growing a large variety of blueberries, and I don't really notice any difference in taste between the varieties.

Pink Lemonade would probably be the exception that comes to mind.

Otherwise, most of my blueberries taste the same to me.

I have noticed differences in growth structure (upright vs. spreading), climate tolerances, and berry size. These are the only real differences I've noticed.

Do you think blueberries taste the same too, or is it just me?
 
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Not sure about flavor per se, but eating experience  wise I find a very large difference between wild berries and the larger domesticated varieties.  Especially when used in cooking for things like pancakes, muffins and oatmeal.  I avoid the big ones and stick with wild for those cooking apps.  I only like the big ones fresh, while I love the small ones cooked.
 
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Yes. I can definitely taste a difference between different types of blueberries but I don't know what they are. :(

Some are big and fat and bland.  Some are small and tart. Some are big and sweet. Some are the perfect blend, for me, of sweet tart. Thankfully that is the kind I already have on my homestead.

I also like the Costco berries which is nice (they are sweeter though). I always have to sample at the farmers market before I buy.
 
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I can certainly tell the difference between varieties. With blueberries, not only is there a wide variety of flavor but there's also distinct differences in texture.

Taste: Things like sweetness and tartness, full blueberry flavor or blandness are quite apparent, with a couple of varieties being quite similar. For lack of a better way to describe it, some blueberries simply taste more blueberry-ish.

Texture: This is much more obvious than flavor sometimes, some blueberries are firm and juicy, some are soft and mealy, some are almost crunchy and some are more on the smooshy side of things.
 
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Since the only blueberries I can get are commercial grocery store varieties. I rarely eat them. I sometimes notice a difference between green or ripe.
 
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My parents grow several different varieties and they are very easy to tell apart.
 
Sonja Draven
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
Since the only blueberries I can get are commercial grocery store varieties. I rarely eat them. I sometimes notice a difference between green or ripe.


I know you grow lots of amazing things but this makes me sad for you. It is like the difference between wild blackberries (ambrosia) and store bought which aren't even food.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Alas: The soil here is derived from limestone. The water flows through and over limestone. The dust that blows in from the desert is limestone. Growing an acid loving plant like blueberries would be very problematic.

There are a number of foods, that I have only eaten store boughten: avocados, bananas, blueberries, kiwi, etc. I often wonder how marvelous they would taste if ripened on the  plant. I know that the muskmelons and strawberries that I grow are not even the same product as what is sold in the grocery stores.
 
Sonja Draven
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Some day you will have to take a road trip and at least try the berries. (I haven't tried those other fruits except from the store either so I can't vouch for them but you are probably right. )
 
Steve Thorn
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
Alas: The soil here is derived from limestone. The water flows through and over limestone. The dust that blows in from the desert is limestone. Growing an acid loving plant like blueberries would be very problematic.

There are a number of foods, that I have only eaten store boughten: avocados, bananas, blueberries, kiwi, etc. I often wonder how marvelous they would taste if ripened on the  plant. I know that the muskmelons and strawberries that I grow are not even the same product as what is sold in the grocery stores.



First, thank you Joseph for all that you've shared about your garden and plant breeding on the forums here.  It's really encouraged me to delve deeper in this area and learn more and try new things!

I grow a southern highbush type of blueberry that is a hybrid of the northern highbush grown up north and native rabbiteye blueberries of the south, which combines the vigor of the rabbiteyes and the bigger fruit of the highbush.

One of the patches I grow them on is very sandy, gets little rain during our blistering summers, and I assume that the soil is not very acidic either.

Partly because of forgetfulness, I don't water them in the summer and just keep the varieties that survive. Most of them have died, but a few of them have survived!

I'm really interested in saving the seeds from these plants to try to develop blueberries that are even more drought resistant and tolerant of this soil type.

Maybe if this is successful down the road, I can send you some seeds so you can enjoy your own fresh home grown blueberries!

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I have two blueberries growing in a pot... But I water them with limestone water. Hmmm. The way y'all talk about them, i'm almost getting excited about only watering them with rainwater, and perhaps actually trying to get a fruit from them.
 
Greg Martin
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Joseph, if you want to try some good ones to find out how much you like them I really recommend buying frozen wild blueberries.  For cooking applications they are not worse than using freshly picked berries in my opinion.  Not sure if they sell them near you or not, but here in Maine Wyman's wild blueberries are in all the supermarkets.  They harvest them in downeast Maine from fields that are carpeted in a ground cover of the wild lowbush plants (I'm fairly certain that none of these have been planted so it's all natural genetics).  One of my favorite things to do with them is blend them with fresh elderberries (2 parts wild blueberries to 1 part elderberries) to make a pie.
 
Sonja Draven
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
I have two blueberries growing in a pot... But I water them with limestone water. Hmmm. The way y'all talk about them, i'm almost getting excited about only watering them with rainwater, and perhaps actually trying to get a fruit from them.


Yes, yes, yes!
 
Steve Thorn
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To me, there is a huge difference between store bought and fresh grown blueberries for fresh eating!

I used to think I only liked blueberries for cooking, as the ones I got from the grocery store were too sweet, mushy, and flavorless to me. I loved them for cooking though, especially for blueberry muffins!

However, I tasted some right off the bush a few years ago and the flavor blew me away! I never imagined they could be so sweet, tangy, and we'll textured. I think those plants were the same type I'm growing now.

I've never tasted wild blueberries, but I think the types I grow probably have some of that wild flavor.

One plant will produce different tasting berries based on size and ripeness. Bigger blueberries are sweet, while the smaller, sometimes less ripe ones, have a tangy flavor. It's such a good combination to take a mixed handful of these and get that amazing sweet and tangy combination!

I can't however, really taste a difference between the big ripe berries of the different varieties I grow. They taste almost identically delicious to me based on my memory.

I'm going to do a taste test this year with the harvest to see if I or my family can taste the difference.

This may be unique to the type I grow. I wander if the other types are easier to tell apart? Can you tell a difference between grocery store ones and fresh grown ones?
 
Greg Martin
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Steve Thorn wrote:Can you tell a difference between grocery store ones and fresh grown ones?



Unfortunately absolutely.  If I do buy the big domesticated blueberries they have to come from the farmers market or side of the road vendors.
 
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Greg Martin wrote:Joseph, if you want to try some good ones to find out how much you like them I really recommend buying frozen wild blueberries.  For cooking applications they are not worse than using freshly picked berries in my opinion.  Not sure if they sell them near you or not, but here in Maine Wyman's wild blueberries are in all the supermarkets.  They harvest them in downeast Maine from fields that are carpeted in a ground cover of the wild lowbush plants (I'm fairly certain that none of these have been planted so it's all natural genetics).  One of my favorite things to do with them is blend them with fresh elderberries (2 parts wild blueberries to 1 part elderberries) to make a pie.


Only ones I can tell are wild and cultivated, wild always much better.
 
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
Alas: The soil here is derived from limestone. The water flows through and over limestone. The dust that blows in from the desert is limestone. Growing an acid loving plant like blueberries would be very problematic.

There are a number of foods, that I have only eaten store boughten: avocados, bananas, blueberries, kiwi, etc. I often wonder how marvelous they would taste if ripened on the  plant. I know that the muskmelons and strawberries that I grow are not even the same product as what is sold in the grocery stores.



In your situation container growing blueberries might work, that way you can keep just a small amount of soil acidified and some green sand or rock dust will get the mineral content just right for perfect blueberry flavor. (use a "big" container such as a watering trough so you can get a good root system and have space for two bushes)
 
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I can taste a lot of difference between many of the blueberry varieties that I have. Pink lemonade is the most unique, but the blue ones have plenty of diversity too. I am able to grow rabbiteye, southern highbush and northern highbush varieties here, and a variety of cultivars of each. I don't notice as much difference between the different northern highbush varieties as the others. There's quite a bit of difference in flavor between the two southern highbush cultivars that I have the most of, Ozarkblue and Summit. I particularly like the rabbiteye blueberries, which have a distinctly different flavor and texture to me from the highbush types, although rabbiteye types tend to be more finicky about waiting until they're fully ripe. If picked too early they will be mealy and lack a full flavor. The variety Tifblue in particular, which I like for its heavy yields and having berries later in the season than any other variety I have, is also annoying in having berries that appear blue but aren't really ripe yet. If they don't pull off easily, they need more time. This is also true for the highbush varieties, but most of the highbush varieties have more leeway in being picked a little under-ripe, they will be more tart but still good. An advantage of rabbiteye varieties is that they don't need to be picked as often. I can pick many of them only every 5-7 days when they're ripening and get more fully ripe fruit that way, with only minor losses to fruit drop. My highbush plants need to be picked more often or there'd be greater losses of fruit to the ground.
 
Steve Thorn
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Richard Kastanie wrote:I can taste a lot of difference between many of the blueberry varieties that I have. Pink lemonade is the most unique, but the blue ones have plenty of diversity too. I am able to grow rabbiteye, southern highbush and northern highbush varieties here, and a variety of cultivars of each. I don't notice as much difference between the different northern highbush varieties as the others. There's quite a bit of difference in flavor between the two southern highbush cultivars that I have the most of, Ozarkblue and Summit. I particularly like the rabbiteye blueberries, which have a distinctly different flavor and texture to me from the highbush types, although rabbiteye types tend to be more finicky about waiting until they're fully ripe. If picked too early they will be mealy and lack a full flavor. The variety Tifblue in particular, which I like for its heavy yields and having berries later in the season than any other variety I have, is also annoying in having berries that appear blue but aren't really ripe yet. If they don't pull off easily, they need more time. This is also true for the highbush varieties, but most of the highbush varieties have more leeway in being picked a little under-ripe, they will be more tart but still good. An advantage of rabbiteye varieties is that they don't need to be picked as often. I can pick many of them only every 5-7 days when they're ripening and get more fully ripe fruit that way, with only minor losses to fruit drop. My highbush plants need to be picked more often or there'd be greater losses of fruit to the ground.



I have Tifblue too and have noticed the same thing!

I love that the fruit hangs on them for a while, that makes picking so convenient!
 
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Greg Martin wrote:Not sure about flavor per se, but eating experience  wise I find a very large difference between wild berries and the larger domesticated varieties.  Especially when used in cooking for things like pancakes, muffins and oatmeal.  I avoid the big ones and stick with wild for those cooking apps.  I only like the big ones fresh, while I love the small ones cooked.



Hi Greg,

When are you talk about the small ones are you talking of small wild blueberries or huckleberries.  There is no comparison IMHO between huckleberries and blueberries.  Huckleberry pie is to die for.  They are way sweeter and more intense flavor than blueberries.  Alas there are only a couple areas of the country that I know of (there may be some microclimates that can also produce them) that have any amount of huckleberries available.  One is northwestern PA along the Susquehanna River and Northern Idaho around Couer d'Alene.  They make killer huckleberry martinis in Couer d'Alene and Spokane.

I just read the later posts and I see the wild blueberries in a frozen pack.  What is their diameter typically?  Huckleberries are usually only about 1/4" or even 3/16" in diamemeter.

 
Greg Martin
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Ralph Kettell wrote:Hi Greg,

When are you talk about the small ones are you talking of small wild blueberries or huckleberries.  There is no comparison IMHO between huckleberries and blueberries.  Huckleberry pie is to die for.  They are way sweeter and more intense flavor than blueberries.  Alas there are only a couple areas of the country that I know of (there may be some microclimates that can also produce them) that have any amount of huckleberries available.  One is northwestern PA along the Susquehanna River and Northern Idaho around Couer d'Alene.  They make killer huckleberry martinis in Couer d'Alene and Spokane.

I just read the later posts and I see the wild blueberries in a frozen pack.  What is their diameter typically?  Huckleberries are usually only about 1/4" or even 3/16" in diamemeter.



Hi Ralph.  I was talking about both our wild lowbush and wild highbush blueberries.  They are typically a similar size to the huckleberries you mentioned.  I've heard so many great things about huckleberries, but here in Maine I typically only find blueberries and bilberries.  This year I will check more closely, I think my brother might have black huckleberry growing at his place.  The plants in his forest have coarser seeds than blueberries, which is a trait of huckleberries, right?  I'll have to pick some and cook with them (and maybe make a martini!).  Thanks
 
Sonja Draven
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Ralph Kettell wrote:

Greg Martin wrote:Not sure about flavor per se, but eating experience  wise I find a very large difference between wild berries and the larger domesticated varieties.  Especially when used in cooking for things like pancakes, muffins and oatmeal.  I avoid the big ones and stick with wild for those cooking apps.  I only like the big ones fresh, while I love the small ones cooked.



Hi Greg,

When are you talk about the small ones are you talking of small wild blueberries or huckleberries.  There is no comparison IMHO between huckleberries and blueberries.  Huckleberry pie is to die for.  They are way sweeter and more intense flavor than blueberries.  Alas there are only a couple areas of the country that I know of (there may be some microclimates that can also produce them) that have any amount of huckleberries available.  One is northwestern PA along the Susquehanna River and Northern Idaho around Couer d'Alene.  They make killer huckleberry martinis in Couer d'Alene and Spokane.

I just read the later posts and I see the wild blueberries in a frozen pack.  What is their diameter typically?  Huckleberries are usually only about 1/4" or even 3/16" in diamemeter.


I have not tried huckleberry pie and they grow like crazy here.  I have black and pink ones.  They are more time-consuming to pick than blueberries (much smaller and more debris to pick out) but based on your enthusiasm I will have to at least pick enough for a pie and try it this year.
 
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I can tell the difference in flavor!

As for blueberries: whoever invented Chocolate Covered Blueberries should be knighted. They are better than sex.
 
Steve Thorn
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Travis Johnson wrote:I can tell the difference in flavor!

As for blueberries: whoever invented Chocolate Covered Blueberries should be knighted.



I've eaten chocolate covered strawberries, but not blueberries. That sounds really good!
 
Steve Thorn
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I haven't found any wild ones yet in my area, but I've been on the lookout for them. I've heard they're a little sour, but I bet they make a good blueberry muffin!
 
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