As a kid, I enjoyed going to Leon to pick blackberries. They were big, dark and sweet, and the best came out towards the end of August. After a while, you could fill an entire bucket. They are less common today and Septembers are reddish or green. Good ones, such as the ones I used for my childhood, can be found at gourmet prices in supermarkets and greengrocers (from 3.69 euros for a 150g box to 24.60 euros per kilogram in large grocery stores, which is slightly less than other places but still above 20 euros).
Blueberries and raspberries are more popular than blackberries. They cost between 12 and 10 euros per kilogram, respectively. The 'boom' is happening with the fruits of forest. These are foods that have seen an increase in demand and consequently in supply. They are healthier than an apple or aubergine, and they are still healthy," says Manuel Monino, a member of the Spanish Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' center for the analysis of scientific evidence. It was hard to find blueberries in supermarkets five years ago, but strawberry growers have started to grow them, and there are blueberry plantations either in Castilla-Leon or the north, as this plant is well-adapted to cold climates.
The expert compares the current situation with blueberries to what was happening a few years back with kiwis. It went from being a very small residual production to being grown along the Cantabrian coast, because blueberries are able to adapt to that climate. However, most of them came from New Zealand and Italy.
- He has given us all permission to eat blueberries and raspberries, blackberries, currants, and other fruits.
Monino: It's in fashion. These fruits have a positive message. It's not all about superfoods. Blueberries won't make you healthier.
Jara Perez Jimenez is a senior scientist at the Institute of Food Science and Technology and Nutrition. These trends can make consumers feel that they are not eating healthy if they don't have access to these foods. It isn't like that.
Blueberries are a popular forest fruit. The anthocyanins have antioxidant properties, so they have a good reputation. Jara Perez Jimenez says that these are the same substances fashions and influencers use to make blueberries stand out from other fruits. However, we also find them in purple plums, aubergines and red cabbage, which is a much more affordable option.
Manuel Monino recalls that the fashion today pointing to these fruits of forest was previously experienced by other fruits like papaya and pineapple, which "are already on the market all the year and at relatively low prices." He believes that blueberries and raspberries will not experience the same fate, at least not yet. They are perishable (blueberries can be kept for a few days, but raspberries can last for several days), so there is a lot of food loss. These fruits can be sold at such high prices because consumers are willing to eat them. We also find products with flavors that are "totally unlike other fruits." You will either like them very much or not at all.
Although it isn't a forest fruit, it enjoys a moment of beauty similar to those found in the forest fruits. The case with the pomegranate, however, is very interesting. It's a Mediterranean fruit. Although it's not exotic, it's experiencing a boom," Jara Perez Jimenez (ICTAN-CSIC senior scientist) confirms. This is because it is rich in phytochemicals that have powerful antioxidant properties, says the specialist. It has also benefited from the current craze for antioxidants.
The ICTAN CSIC researcher doesn't put a stop to this food. The pomegranate can be used in a variety of dishes, including meat stews. It also adds sweetness to salads.>> She says the problem is when you juice it, which is what most people see on supermarket shelves. Another caveat is that these interesting polyphenols can be found in all fruits, not just pomegranates. The pomegranate is also a seasonal fruit that is typically found in the months of August through December.