I do not suppose that older generations look for blueberries at the grocery store or at their neighbourhood market. Despite claims that the blueberry has been a part of our culture since the Ottoman times, their entry into our life is actually much more recent. In the last few years, the blueberry has been successful in getting the attention it deserves. They are very delicious, but blueberries are also very expensive in Turkey. Although they can be found easily in supermarkets or in organic food markets, the price of a few berries is close to the cost of a good dinner. Blueberries are not commonly grown locally, so they are mostly imported. This affects the pricing of the blueberry.
Let us introduce the blueberry for those who like technical details. The blueberry is an arboreal plant; it has many branches and is 20–25 centimetres high. It is part of the Ericaceae family and frequently grows in the mountains of the Black Sea region. However, the wild plants are not consumed by Yuruks (nomadic Anatolian people), who dwell in the mountainous regions of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. I myself witnessed the lack of interest in this berry when I have visited Mersin and I was very surprised by it. The locals preferred traditional fruit.
Then, why has the blueberry become so attractive? First of all, it has a lot of health benefits. It helps to prevent vision impairments stemming from eyestrain, near-sightedness or diabetes and plays a part in preventing arteriosclerosis. Moreover, it is one of the seven foods — together with salmon, eggs, oats, kidney beans, peas and sunflower seeds — that improve intelligence. It does not contain sodium and is low calorie. Additionally, it is rich in terms of vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium and phosphor and it offers antibiotic features that help fight urinary infections.
This fruit can be consumed either dry or fresh. The consumption of dry fruit is more economical and more widespread, whereas there is more flexibility in the use of fresh fruit. It can be used in chocolate and pastries, as well as in the production of spices and medicines. The dry leaves can be consumed as tea. There have been studies showing that the blueberry family is among the garden plants with the highest antioxidants. It is considered to be one of the healthiest meal supplements. On top of that, blueberries are delicious and you cannot eat enough of them!