Why Juneberries are best judged in July

Come July, add Juneberries to your breakfast fruit salad…

 

Native berries of North America continue to make inroads with fruit growers and consumers in the UK. Recently we reported on Tickleberries (also known as Aronia & Choke berries). Today we focus on Juneberries – also known as Saskatoons.

A native of western Canada, these little wonders provide a delightful sense of confusion for the UK consumer by ripening in July, rather than in June, as their name might imply.

Come July, eat your Juneberries!

This might be an appropriate marketing campaign, but the reason their timing is off is thanks to the UK weather, which serves to delay the ripening of these little fellas just past their name-month.

The fruits are tasty when eaten fresh (reminiscent of a cherry/plum mix) and are good for being fresh frozen. They can be used in pies, for jams and fruit rolls or even for wine and home canning. There is growing interest in the Juneberry as a commercial fruit crop for the fresh fruit market, commercial processing and freezing industries, so they have come a long way since Pershore Juneberries, based in the heart of the Vale of Evesham in Worcestershire, staked their claim as the first commercial grower in the UK.

Jam-packed with goodness

There are several powerful antioxidants in the berries, including anthocyanins, quercetin, and vitamin C. Indeed, it is claimed that the berries contain twice the amount of calcium and five times the amount of magnesium of blueberries.

The power of the purple gang

Plants produce anthocyanins as a protective mechanism against the environment, such as cold temperature, drought, and ultraviolet sunlight. Tickleberries, blackberries, blueberries and elderberries are other good examples. Thus, anthocyanins give berries their vibrant colour, but they also provide some other amazing benefits.

In laboratory research, as well as in human and animal studies, anthocyanins have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, aid in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes, as well as boosting eye health and mental focus.

Anthocyanins work together with quercetin to help slow age-related memory-loss. Quercetin can also decrease the inflammatory effects of chemicals in the synovial fluid of the joints for people with inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Anthocyanins also interact with other phytonutrients, so their benefits extend even further when we consume a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.

Vitamin C is another strong antioxidant found in Juneberries. It is largely responsible for the health of collagen, which helps maintain cartilage stores and aids in joint flexibility. Eating vitamin C–rich berries like the Juneberry will contribute to radiant skin and healthy hair, and may reduce the risk of arthritis, cataracts, and macular degeneration.

Meanwhile studies have shown a routine nutrition high in berries can offer other potential health benefits, such as reducing the risk of certain cancers, diabetes, and neurological diseases.

Come July, I can’t wait to try them fresh or added to muffins, pancakes, porridge, crumbles, or pies. Even without the wonderful nutritional benefits, I think I’ll be judging them “berry berry” nice!

To find out more about Pershore Juneberries click on the link on the side column

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          About the author

Iris is the founder of No Targets Just Routine and a dedicated campaigner for real food. Having researched food since 2009 she believes “Happiness is real food shared with loved ones.”

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