What makes blueberries tasty?

Albany, ME(Zone 4b)

On our way up to Maine, where our garden is, we stopped and bought two pints of blueberries. When we got to our place we discovered that our blueberries had, in the space of 10 days, gone from green to blue. Tons of blueberries. So we had a taste test. The store bought berries were noticeably tastier. Ours seemed blander than normal. The store bought were from Canada. (The eastern parts of Canada are significantly warmer than western Maine). But I would think that Canada had similar weather to ours??? What do the pros do that we don't?

TIA
LAS

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

they probably use a chemical fertilizer, unless you bought organic

Albany, ME(Zone 4b)

Hmmm... Our basis for buying organic anything is purely taste. We get organic broccoli and chicken and carrots for that reason. So let's hypothesize that our blueberries were organic. How did those pros do it?

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

They like highly acidic soil and full sun, other than that I have no other ideas

Albany, ME(Zone 4b)

Yes, they have both. Other folks?

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

Taste varies with variety.
Taste varies with how ripe they are - they turn blue before they are fully ripe, maybe yours needed a few more days.
And taste varies with sunlight and temperature - more of the former and less of the latter. Plants convert sunlight to sugar, but fruit picked right after a heat wave won't be as sweet.

Albany, ME(Zone 4b)

Aha! We had a recent heat wave. And... we've been not so careful about fully blue blueberries because this year even the partially red ones weren't so acidic. We're in a cool spell now. Away for a week. When we get back I'll be strict about really, really blue ones. I'll report back then.

Thanks,
LAS

Thomaston, CT

Yes, many things go into making up the taste of the blueberries........some varieties on my son's farm are too tart for my taste, but make good pies & jams.....

Albany, ME(Zone 4b)

Pollengarden, I've been very careful to pick the berries when there was no hint of red and they are tastier. It's been cool too, so I have two variables. I'm going to start another thread in the fruits and nuts forum about blueberry picking techniques. I find limiting myself to totally blue really slows me down!! :-)

This message was edited Aug 8, 2013 2:26 PM

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

Oh, to have so many Blueberries that it takes too long to pick them. Sigh...

Thomaston, CT

LOL.....what if you had 5,000 bushes like my son? Folks have been picking since the 1st week of July, 150 pounds went to the church, hundreds of pounds to the weekly farmer's market, & some bushes are still loaded with berries.....only about 2 weeks left of the season, though.....

Albany, ME(Zone 4b)

A happy discovery! Blueberries ripen after being picked! At least those with just a hint of red turn a nice dark blue. So I don't have to be SO careful with my picking and can cull out the slightly reddish ones at my leisure for a later day. I find putting them in a bowl of water helps as they turn over and over and reveal their reddishness.

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

I only have two small bushes, but have plans to work up to six. Soil and water in Colorado are both too alkaline for Blueberries - we grow them in Peat bales and water them with dilute acidifier/fertilizer.

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

I only have two small bushes, but have plans to work up to six. Soil and water in Colorado are both too alkaline for Blueberries - we grow them in Peat bales and water them with dilute acidifier/fertilizer.

The blueberries in the stores here are usually pretty bland, I assume because they were picked slightly under-ripe and shipped a long way.

Thomaston, CT

New England soil is very acidic, good for blueberries, rhodos, & heather!

Lexington, MA(Zone 6a)

I'm new to blueberry growing, but I planted three different ones this year. Big plump, pinkish blue berries on Vaccinium corymbosum 'Peach Sorbet' in it's first year since i bought it at the nursery and they were sweet.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

I can't claim to have ever grown blueberries, but I am an avid consumer.

No one has mentioned the obvious answer to the original question: "what do the professionals know that we don't..."

They plant known named selections - that were named and selected because they taste good. It is not more complicated than that.

It really isn't any different than named selections of other things, like apples, strawberries, peaches, etc. Most any plant is going to have a wide range of genetic qualities, and in those plants which we consume parts of, one of those variables is what it tastes like.

There are many named selections of blueberries, and the growers are going to be growing the ones that they know consumers like the taste of - so that they sell their crops. Wild species blueberries are going to have a wide range of qualities - including taste - so you are always going to have variations among different plants. Growing season conditions will play some part, but it sure won't change the genetics of the plant.

Lexington, MA(Zone 6a)

Thanks for pointing that out, VV. I second the motion.

Thomaston, CT

Have sampled all 15 varieties growing on son's farm....some are sweet, some are tart, but all are yummy for eating or baking!

Lexington, MA(Zone 6a)

I did a little surfing about nutrients for fruit plants, and I wonder if anyone has checked to see if Epsom salt in a solution of 1 T. per gallon makes blueberries more tasty? The magnesium is supposed to be beneficial for many plants, more or less so depending upon how depleted the soil may be. Genetics are still very important.

Thomaston, CT

My Dad used to put aluminum sulfate on his, making for some way sour berries!

Lexington, MA(Zone 6a)

Oh boy, pucker up! He must have liked them sour.

Thomaston, CT

Oh, yeah!

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

Aluminum Sulfate was what we use to use here to acidify our alkaline soil - but it was a constant uphill battle. Planting them in peat instead of our soil works better - now all we have to compensate for is our even-more-alkaline water!

Thomaston, CT

I guess every area has it's challenges.......rocks are always coming up in my gardens, plus the soil is acidic....lots of lime in the spring if you want any veggies.......

Lexington, MA(Zone 6a)

Yep, I could keep a lime factory in business, especially for the peony beds. Interesting thought about the rocks. In my reading about Ilex Opaca, some sources say they LIKE rocks in the soil. Makes me wonder how many of them to remove for other plants.

Thomaston, CT

All of my gardens are raised beds except for my veggie garden......that's where the rocks are a problem! I have a huge pile in one corner of the enclosure......snake city, I'm sure!

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

1) Blueberry Bushes growing in Peat bales - I want to expand to 6 bushes/varieties for a longer harvest period.

2) My lime soil - worst case - not even weeds. I know this is the kind of shale they grind up & toast to make cement mix. I think it might also be the kind they grind up to make lime to apply to soils.

3) Since I live near the Rockies, I know there is indeed native plants that actually prefer rocky soil. The tree is a Ponderosa Pine, at it's base are cold-hardy cactus - both like rocks and good drainage. They are growing in a pile of good topsoil mixed 50/50 with rock/gravel/sand. The bush is a Rabbitbrush - it likes slmost opposite conditions. They will grow in our salty alkaline clay if they get a little extra water - namely the runoff from the Ponderosa.

Thumbnail by pollengarden Thumbnail by pollengarden Thumbnail by pollengarden
Thomaston, CT

Plants are amazing....they will adapt to many soils over time.....great for us who depend on them, & love them for their beauty.......

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