Blueberries are a widely distributed and widespread group of perennial flowering plants with blue or purple berries. Commercial blueberries—both wild (lowbush) and cultivated (highbush)—are all native to North America. The highbush varieties were introduced into Europe.
Blueberries are usually prostrate shrubs that can vary in size from 10 centimeters (4 inches) to 4 meters (13 feet) in height. In commercial production of blueberries, the species with small, pea-size berries growing on low-level bushes are known as “lowbush blueberries” (synonymous with “wild”), while the species with larger berries growing on taller, cultivated bushes are known as “highbush blueberries”. Canada is the leading producer of lowbush blueberries, while the United States produces some 40% of the world supply of highbush blueberries.
Blueberries are sold fresh or are processed as individually quick frozen (IQF) fruit, purée, juice, or dried or infused berries. These may then be used in a variety of consumer goods, such as jellies, jams, pies, muffins, snack foods, pancakes, or as an additive to breakfast cereals.
Blueberry jam is made from blueberries, sugar, water, and fruit pectin. Blueberry sauce is a sweet sauce prepared using blueberries as a primary ingredient.
Blueberry wine is made from the flesh and skin of the berries, which is fermented and then matured; usually the lowbush variety is used