A Guide To Blueberry Types And Taste

When deciding which blueberries to use you may ask, what blueberries are the sweetest?

The sweetest blueberries are ones that come off the Northern or Southern Highbush. These blueberries are from the Eastern coast of the United States. The second sweetest blueberries are the legacy blueberries grown in the Northeast and across the Northern Midwest.

There are different varieties of blueberry, and they can be broken down into two parts1. Those parts are, what bush they come from, and then what variety they are relative to that bush.

That is a lot to consider so in this article, we are going to go through a taste test and guide. So, for everything you need to know, keep reading.

a woman eating blueberries.
Eating sweet blueberries

What Blueberries Are The Sweetest

As a Certified Health Coach many clients ask me about healthy fruit including blueberries. Also, I purchase and consume them every day. Therefore, I have researched this topic in the past and present. Let’s examine them closely.

If you are going out to buy some blueberries and want to increase your chances of getting the sweetest blueberries, you might be in luck2. It all depends on what cultivars your local store has in stock but here are some cultivars generally the sweetest.

Any blueberry that comes off of the Southern or Northern Highbush will be sweeter than most other blueberries. All you have to do is check the box or packaging for a label. The label should explain where the blueberry was grown. We have a table down in the article that should help further explain this.

Sometimes the packaging does not explain what bush the berry comes from but rather what cultivar it is. If this is the case, all you have to do is check which bush it comes from3. This leads us to our next section where we will discuss this in further detail.

What Types Of Blueberries Are There?

As mentioned above, when talking about blueberry varieties you need to consider there are a few varieties of blueberry bushes4. Each bush has its own variety of blueberry. You can break down the taste as per what Bush the blueberries are grown on rather than each cultivar.

This is because while each cultivar is slightly different, they’re all similar if grown on the same type of bush. Before going into taste and texture, I’m going to talk a little bit about each bush. This way you’ll know what to look for when you’re going to buy blueberries or grow your own.

Blueberry Varieties: The Bush

All of the bushes discussed here are native to the United States of America. If you’re reading this from outside of this country don’t worry because most of them have been introduced all over the world. That being said, because they are native to America, they have adapted to and grow the best in these climates.

Here is a list of the most popular blueberry bushes5:

  • Highbush (Farmed).
  • Lowbush (Wild).
  • Rabbit Eye (Developed for hot climates).
  • Half-Highbush.
A bowl of sweet blueberries.
A bowl of sweet blueberries

Blueberry Varieties: The Berry

Humans have always found a way to adapt certain fruits and vegetables to grow in the climates they live in. For this reason, people have made different variants of the same fruit6.

This is also true with blueberries. Remember, blueberries are very specific with regards to what time of year they grow.

Here is a list of a few of the favorite blueberry cultivars:

  • Legacy blueberry.
  • Bluegold blueberry
  • Jersey blueberry
  • Sunshine blue, blueberry
  • Premier blueberry
  • Powderblue blueberry
  • Northsky blueberry
  • Patriot blueberry

Blueberry Bush And Berry Taste Table

To make things easier, I decided to make a table that easily highlights a little bit about each bush7 and what cultivar they can grow8.

Bush Taste Texture Cultivars Climate
Very Sweet Firm Legacy, Bluegold,
Eastern USA
Very Sweet Firm Elliot, Legacy,
Southern USA (Florida)
Lowbush Mildly Sweet Firm Wild Blueberries NE USA and Central Canada
Rabbit Eye Mild Firm Premier, Powderblue,
Half-Highbush Sweet Firm Patriot, Northland SE and NE USA

Why Your Blueberries Are Not Sweet

There are many factors as to why your blueberry may not be sweet ((SFGATE: Will Blueberries Ripen if Picked Early?)). This is true even if the cultivar is generally considered to be a sweet cultivar or not. It’s never pleasant to look forward to eating a few blueberries only to find they have a bitter taste.

Some of these reasons include the following:

  • They received little sunlight while growing.
  • They are not fully ripe yet.
  • They are overripe.

One of the most common reasons is not waiting for the blueberries to be fully ripe. When the blueberry has not had time to fully ripen, the acid and sugar balance is not what you want it to be.

If the blueberry is overripe, the blueberry will have a little bit of a bitter taste. This takes away from the sweetness. The longer your blueberries stay in the overripe stage, the less sweet it will become until it eventually goes bad.

As for the blueberry not receiving enough sun, this is out of your hands and generally due to the weather that the farm experienced. If you grow your own blueberries, allow the bush to receive as much sunlight as possible.

How To Tell If Your Blueberries Will Be Sweet

Sometimes you’ll be at the store and after checking where the blueberries come from, you may still be unsure if they are sweet or not. You might have to ask if you can feel or taste one. This is because all cultivars have a different color and feeling or tasting is the only way.

If you manage to feel one of them, make sure they are firm but require little force to squeeze. The skin of the blueberry should always be firm, but the inner part should be soft.

How To Sweeten Your Blueberries

If you do have the bad luck of having blueberries that are not sweet enough, there are a few things that you can do. Starting off with the most obvious first.

Your Blueberries Are Not Ripe

For this, all you have to do is ripen your blueberries. You can do this by placing them in a brown paper bag ((Michigan State University: Michigan Fresh: Using, Storing, and Preserving Blueberries)) and then storing them in a cupboard at room temperature for 2 to 4 days.

Check out my blog post on ripening your blueberries for an extensive guide on the subject, Picked Early? A Guide to Blueberry Ripening.

If Your Blueberries Are Overripe Or Just Not Sweet Enough

For this, you could cut them in half and add a little touch of sugar to the blueberry. This obviously takes away from some of the health benefits and not typically a favorite solution, but it works.

Even better, you could also add the blueberries to a fruit salad with some cranberry juice or make a smoothie ((Fruits and Veggies: It’s Berry Picking Time)). Either way, you will be adding sweetness to the blueberry while still keeping most of its health benefits.

If you have any questions to ask me about this article don’t hesitate to comment below or email us. You can find an email on our contact page.

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  1. U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council: Blueberry Varieties []
  2. U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council: Where Blueberries Grow []
  3. USDA: Highbush Blueberry []
  4. ResearchGate: Blueberry production and research trends in North America []
  5. Old Farmer’s Almanac: Growing Blueberries []
  6. Cornell University: Blueberry Variety Review []
  7. Rutgers: Selecting Blueberry varieties for the Home Garden []
  8. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Breeding blueberries for a changing global environment: a review []

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