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Drinks that Contain Canadian Wild Blueberries: Nova Scotia Edition

Fall is the perfect season to crave wild blueberries. So, here is a list of some local Nova Scotia products that are both non-alcoholic and alcoholic for you to enjoy.

Wild Blueberry Soda

Chill Street Craft Beverages

 

This non-aclcoholic soda is made with 100% Nova Scotia wild blueberry juice from Millen Farms. Not only is this soda caffeine-free but it’s gluten-friendly and made with no artificial colours.

Do your kids ask for “sodas” on the weekends, well if so, this is the soda product you should be reaching for.

Wild Thing- Blueberry Sangria

Chill Street Craft Beverages

Looking for something that has alcohol from Chill Street? Well, this is the perfect fall sangria for you. Wild thing has the bold fruity taste of sangria in the convince of a can. And is also made with 100% Nova Scotia wild blueberries.

Suggested food pairings with the sangria is corn!

Press Wild Blueberries- Sparkling

Viveau

Looking for something more refreshing? Try the Viveau sparkling juice. The blueberries contained in this drink are from Oxford, Nova Scotia. And don’t forget that Oxford is the Wild Blueberry capital of Canada.

 

Blue Lobster Wild Blueberry Lemon Vodka Soda

Nova Scotia Spirit Co.

Blue Lobster Blueberry Lemon Vodka Soda

Looking for something light and contains alcohol? This vodka soda is made with 100% Nova Scotia wild blueberries. Not only do you get the delicious sweet taste of blueberries but this drink also has a hint of lemon. Giving you all the refreshing tastes you need.

Gluten free and made with all natural flavours, you can’t go wrong with this one.

 

Wild Blueberry Juice

Van Dyk’s

This juice has 100% wild blueberries in every drop. Every bottle is packed with polyphenols, antioxidants and anthocyanins. In other words, this is a juice you will want to drink every morning.

Not to mentions each bottle has over 2000 wild blueberries which means there’s no room to add in anything else.

Switch out your other juices in your fridge and make sure you have this on on hand.

 

And there is your fall guide to enjoying Nova Scotia blueberry drinks. There is something everyone can enjoy on this list, while highlighting the amazing Nova Scotian wild blueberry products.

Canadian Wild Blueberries: What Happens to the Wild Blueberry?

If you’re like us, you’re probably curious about how harvest season looks for wild blueberry producers. When farmers are harvesting corn, wheat, oats or canola, they use combines with specific headers (and settings) for each type of crop. Apple pickers are often hired for harvest to hand pick apples, careful to not bruise them, and then they are sorted by shape, size and quality. Other berries are harvested by shaking the branches and using a hand held rake for the stragglers, allowing the fruit to drop to the ground which is covered with a tarp. 

How are Canadian Wild Blueberries Harvested?

 

While the wild blueberry used to be picked by hand or by using a small, hand-held rake, harvest has significantly changed for many producers over the last couple of decades. 90-95% of growers now use a mechanical harvester which is mounted to a tractor. These harvesters have rotating rakes that pull the berries from the branches, drop them onto a belt, and then drops them into large totes. 

             

 

Fact: Each tote can hold around 300 pounds of berries

 

Approximately only 1-2% of wild blueberry producers still use the more traditional method of hand-raking the wild blueberries off of the brush. There are also smaller mechanical harvesters, as well. These can be pushed, or have push rakes that are mounted onto smaller machines, and are often used on smaller farms. 

What Happens after They Are Picked?

 

Depending on the size of operation, there are different ways that producers go about handling their produce for Individual Quick Freezing (IQF). Most producers ensure that once the totes have been filled, they are loaded onto a flatbed trailer and brought to a receiving station. Here, they are weighed and loaded into a transport truck. These trucks will bring the berries to the processing plant, where they go through a series of events to prepare them for the individual quick freezing process. Note: some producers skip the flatbed trailer all together and load their berries directly into the transport truck for the delivery to the processing station. 

 

Once the berries arrive at the processing plant, they are cleaned in by going through a blower and several different water baths. To ensure quality control, they are sorted by using lasers, as well as other techniques. Once the berries have been sorted and cleaned, each and every wild blueberry is individually quick frozen. There are several different processes that the berries will then go through, depending on the processing plant, what the berries are being used for, and where they are going. In the end, the berries are then packaged and prepared to ship. For berries that are sold in the freezer section in your grocery store, most of the berries are packaged into 600 gram and 2 kilogram bags or containers. The vast majority of Canadian wild blueberries, however, are exported out of the country! 

Did you know that Japan uses wild blueberries primarily in yogurts and jams, while Germany will use Canadian wild blueberries most often in glass jars! 

What about Fresh Wild Blueberries?

 

Because fresh wild blueberries do not have a long shelf life, they are most often sold as frozen berries. But if you’re in an area during wild blueberry harvest, and you happen to get your hands on some of those small blue gems, we highly recommend doing so! The process of harvest-to-table of fresh wild blueberries is a little different. 

Once the berries are picked, they are then brought back to the shop on the local farm. They go through a similar process as their frozen counterparts, with a giant fan blowing out the debris. Then they go over a sizing belt which helps sort the berries by size and ripeness, a tilter belt that removes clusters, and then over a picking belt where workers can sort through the fruit to pull the bad ones out (note: some operations also have started using lasers to help with this sorting process). Boxes are then packed in several sizes, including pint, 5lb and 10lbs. You can find these blueberries fresh at farm markets, some local grocery stores, or roadside stands. The farms that have their own processors will often also freeze their berries, and sell them to consumers well after the harvest is over!  

We are so thankful for those who manage and harvest Canadian wild blueberries! We love those tangy little berries that are unique to our part of the world, and how versatile they are. It’s wonderful being able to use them in all types of food, throughout the year (thanks to IQF), and even other things like DIY paint and soap. 

 

What do you think? Did you know this is how the mighty wild blueberry was harvested and processed? Were there any surprises? Let us know in the comments!

7 Unique Ways to Enjoy Wild Blueberries

Do you like eating wild blueberries all year long? It can be hard to come by {affordable} fresh fruit during the colder months when fresh produce isn’t as readily available in Canada. Fresh wild blueberries are even more difficult to come by, as the season is short, and with a short shelf life, wild blueberries don’t stay fresh for long.  

Of course, our wild blueberry producers are clever. Because they know that we love our blueberries all year round, there have been some incredibly innovative ways of ensuring that we get the super fruit that we love whenever we want it! There are many different ways that wild blueberries can be enjoyed, some of which may be very surprising!

 

7 Unique Ways to Enjoy Wild Blueberries

 

Fresh: 

Obviously this is going to be first on our list. There’s nothing quite like eating wild blueberries straight from the bush. You can get wild blueberries fresh during the harvest season (typically late August to mid September) off of wild blueberry bushes, u-Pick farms, or your local grocery store. Fresh wild blueberries can be used in a large variety of ways, including baking, cooking, sauces, snacking (fresh), and so on. 

 

frozen wild blueberries

Frozen: 

If you’ve been following Canadian Wild Blueberries for any amount of time, you’ll know that frozen wild blueberries is the most accessible form. All Canadian wild blueberries are put through a process called IQF, or better known as Individually Quick Frozen, within 24 hours of being picked. This preserves their nutritional value, their colour, and taste. Many different brands throughout Canada (and around the world) carry wild blueberries that are IQF, and likely can be found in the frozen goods section of your local grocery store. 

 

Pureed: 

Did you know that wild blueberries are sold as purees? Whether canned or frozen, pureed wild blueberries are used around the world! They can be used as pure ingredients in a sorbet or ice cream, or to be used in cocktails or other drinks. Wild blueberry puree is incredibly useful, as well as being incredibly versatile. 

Juiced: 

As the heading suggests, juiced pure wild blueberries are great for drinking (did you know that wild blueberries have tannins that help prevent bladder and urinary tract infections?), being reduced into a syrup, drizzling over ice cream, or adding to sparkling water for a refreshing drink. In Nova Scotia, one of the most well-known brands of wild blueberry juice is certainly Van Dyk’s Pure Wild Blueberry Juice

 

Powdered: 

Wait, what? Yes, it’s true – you can get pure wild blueberries in a powdered form! This is incredibly handy for baking, mixes, adding to smoothies, and much more! It holds every bit of the tart and refreshing flavour that we love from the wild blueberry, while allowing for us to enjoy them in a very different way! 

 

Dried:

Most of us have heard of dried grapes (raisins), cranberries (craisins) and so on. But have you heard of dried blueberries? There are typically two different forms of dried blueberries – chewy and crunchy! Next time you’re looking for something to nibble on, ditch the chips and go for some crunchy dried wild blueberries instead! 

 

Canned:

Of course, we would be remiss if we failed to mention canned wild blueberries. It’s a great way to preserve them, ensuring you can enjoy them all year long. Canning them in water, a light syrup or even pickling them (yes, it’s true! Here’s a recipe on how to make fridge pickle wild blueberries) allows for a longer shelf life, as well as creating some variety in ways to use your wild blueberries!

 

 

As you can see, these powerful little superfruits can be enjoyed in many different ways and in every season. Why not try some of the different ways to enjoy wild blueberries today? You never know – you may find a new favourite! 

Choco-Cherry-Berry Smoothie

 

Choco-Cherry-Berry Smoothie

Sara MacIsaac
A delicious start to your day can be found right here. While sweet, there is no added sugar to this antioxidant-rich breakfast!
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 1

Equipment

  • blender

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen plums
  • 1/4 cup frozen mixed berries (ie. blackberries, currants, raspberries)
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1 cup milk (cow, goat, soy, coconut)

Optional add-ins

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1 serving protein powder
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp ground flax

Instructions
 

  • Add all of the ingredients to a high-powered blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy!
Keyword blueberry smoothie, breakfast, healthy eats, smoothie

9 Uniquely Blue Gift Ideas

9 Uniquely Blue Gift Ideas

Though the traditional gift giving season may be over, that doesn’t mean gift buying is out! Whether you’re an eager beaver and are getting ahead of the crowds for next year’s holiday celebrations, or a special occasion is coming up, a gift guide is never out of style. As the Canadian Wild Blueberry Association, we love that Canadians love to support other Canadians. Did you know that by supporting businesses that use Canadian wild blueberries, you’re supporting your Canadian blueberry farmers? So we thought we would create a list of 9 Wild Blueberry Gift Ideas for you to consider during your next gift giving opportunity! 

 

Bonne Maman Jams

If you’re looking for some tasty treats to pass around at your next pandemic-approved event, Bonne Maman has created beautiful and artistic gift boxes filled with delicious jams, jellies, and compotes! These are usually quick selling, so you’d better hurry to get your hands on one before they’re gone. 

You can find these online, Costco, IGA, and other specialty shops.

Celestial Seasonings

For the tea-lovers in your life, consider Celestial Seasonings “True Blueberry Herbal Tea” – a fragrant taste of the wild blueberry that you know and love! Give it with a new mug, or the box itself with an ice cube tray, this gift can be used all year ‘round, and is an incredibly versatile product to round out your gift-giving! 

Many supermarkets (such as Walmart Supercenter, Giant Tiger, Sobeys and Superstore) carry Celestial Seasonings tea, though they may not carry the True Blueberry. Talk to your local supermarket today! 

 

Chudleigh’s

Based in Ontario, Chudleigh’s carries a mouth-watering assortment of goods. From pies to jams, salsa to cider, there is something for everyone! Currently, they are offering a Jam Holiday Gift Box (which is ON SALE right now!) that includes a jar of wild blueberry-wild raspberry jam that we’re dying to try.

As always, these can be ordered online, or you can find them at most local supermarkets including Costco, Giant Tiger, Loblaws, Wholesale Club, and more.

 

Farmer’s Dairy

Perhaps one of the best in-home date nights involve a blanket, a movie, and a bucket of ice cream. Give the gift of YUM, along with a tub of Farmer’s Oxford Blueberries and Cream Ice Cream! Made with 100% Canadian milk, and 100% Canadian Wild Blueberries, you can feel VERY sure that you’re supporting local, all the while enjoying a spoonful (or more) of delicious dairy.

Found at all major grocery retailers in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. 

 

Jamieson

That’s right, Jamieson (the brand known for vitamins and probiotics) also incorporates wild blueberries in their products! Thinking about giving the gift of nutrition this year? Consider some chewable Vitamin B in a health and wellness gift basket (hey, you could throw some Celestial Seasonings tea in there, too!)!

Found at most major retailers and pharmacies in Canada.

 

Nature’s Path

We love Nature’s Path for a variety of reasons, not the least of which the fact that they are all about whole grains, healthy eating, and healthy living (especially on the go). So for the one who never has time for breakfast in your life, consider slipping a box of these Sunrise Blueberry Chia Breakfast Biscuits in their gift basket this year! They’ll be thanking you as they run out the door, biscuits in hand!

Found at most major grocery stores.

Pepper North

Have a hot-sauce lover on your hands? Awesome. Take a peek at Pepper North’s Blueberry Plague hot sauce. With a heat index of 7/10, this spicy treat has strong notes of wild blueberries, Trinidad scorpion peppers, wild honey, and red habanero peppers. 

Pepper North products can be found at Loblaws, Sobeys, Amazon, Superstore, Highland Farms, and more.

 

St.Dalfour

Wanting a French take on a wild blueberry jam? Head over to St. Dalfour! After sending Canadian wild blueberries to France, St. Dalfour creates a delicious jam and sends it right back for all of us to enjoy.

These products can be found at Loblaws, Sobeys, IGA, Foodland, and more. 

 

Van Dyk’s 

Offering delicious pure wild blueberry juice isn’t the only thing that Van Dyk’s are known for! They produce a number of delicious products, and are now offering gift baskets with a delightful combination of their most popular products! 

These products can be purchased online, at most quality and health food stores across Canada, including Loblaws, Sobeys, Pharmasave, among many, many more. 

 

 

There are so many different kinds of gifts you can give; food baskets, health and wellness themed boxes, charcuterie boards (these have been incredibly popular) and so much more. Why not consider adding some Canadian Wild Blueberries to the mix? Not only will you be supporting Canadian wild blueberry farmers, you’ll be putting a smile on your recipient’s face as well!