Mid-March to May is the peak growing season for blueberries in Florida. Between u-picks, roadside stands, farmers markets and grocery stores, consumers have plenty of choices to find fresh, delicious berries. Thanks to UF/IFAS’ plant breeding program, the state’s blueberry industry has grown rapidly in the past 20 years, and Florida farmers produce about 20 million pounds of blueberries a year on more than 7,000 acres of land. The popularity of blueberries is at an all-time high, as they’re not only yummy and versatile, but they’re rich in Vitamins C and K, as well as manganese, antioxidants and other nutrients. All this and only 83 calories per cup!
The UF/IFAS Extension Bookstore has a few new books to help you get your blue on this season.
Food writer Julia Rutland has put together the ultimate guide to our favorite spring fruit. She sets the table with an introduction to blueberries, including their varieties, cultivation, nutrition facts, tips for buying fresh blueberries at your local market, and freezing and preserving them for enjoyment all year round.
The main course is a serving of 50 recipes for blueberries including jams, pies, pancakes, ice cream, crumbles and beverages. With simple-to-follow recipes and enticing photos, Rutland covers everything from blueberry-orange sweet rolls to blueberry, lobster and corn salad.
One look at this book and you’ll be running to your local u-pick or farmers market for more fresh, delicious blueberries.
The best thing about blueberries is that they can be grown in the Florida garden! Read the Blueberry Gardener’s Guide at Ask IFAS for more information.
Charles R. Boning
Florida is a veritable paradise for the gardener who loves fruit picked fresh from the garden. This beautifully illustrated, comprehensive book is your guide to some 80 species of fruiting plants that thrive in the Florida sunshine. Each plant entry includes range maps, fruiting calendars, and a full account of their characteristics, cultivation, and use. From blueberries and avocado to pawpaw and mamey sapote, this guide is a useful introduction to growing fruit in all regions of Florida.
For more, visit ifasbooks.ifas.ufl.edu