Albanian Blueberries: The Health Boosting Fruit of the North
Chockfull of antioxidants, the Albanian blueberry’s positive effects on a person’s health are countless. Grown in the highlands of Albania’s north, the delicious and healthy fruit, now trademarked, is distributed within the country and exported outside of its borders.
The indigo or dark purple hue of blueberries covers the surface of the mountains in northern Albania during the summer season. Primarily those of Kukës, Tropojë and Pukë with the largest surface area located in Kukës, in the mountains of Bicaj, Shishtavec and Çajë. The north’s cooler climate produces this magical fruit which, alongside its singular delicious taste, is invaluable for one’s health. The blueberry packs so many health benefits, it becomes impossible to list them all.
One of nature’s most powerful antioxidants
The blueberry is one of the summer’s seasonal fruit that most helps with weight loss. Perhaps more importantly, the fruit also works wonders for the brain; it improves concentration, lowers the risk of sclerosis and safeguards brain cells. Furthermore, this super antioxidant supports the health of heart, eyes, and skin. Half a cup of blueberries contains 120 milligrams of antioxidants which lower blood pressure. Blueberries contain vitamins C and B, carotene, protein and acids, as well as natural fatty and manganese extracts which convert fat into energy.
One of the most exported Albanian products
Currently, blueberries from the Albanian highlands are trademarked. The product, which now officially holds the seal of quality is in high demand in both the local and international market. In fact, blueberries are one of the most profitable products for Albanian farmers, especially those in the north like Kukës, Pukë, and Tropojë. In other words, where this delicious and healthy fruit thrives.
The Kukës Blueberry
The Kukës blueberry is branded and has its own logo. Ermal Hallaçi tells IntoAlbania that “in the last few summers, the mountains in Kukës have been filled with farm camps where hundreds of locals, coming from the nearby villages, go out to collect blueberries. The majority of the locals earn their income by selling the fruit.” Harvesting season lasts from the last week of July to the end of August. The demand for the fruit is steadily increasing, Hallaçi claims, especially in Tirana but other major cities, as well.
Make blueberries part of your daily diet
One food that best brings out the taste and complements the health benefits of the blueberry is plain yogurt. In fact, yogurt and blueberries has become a global breakfast staple. The probiotics offered by yogurt and the high content of fiber found in the blueberry create a healthy balanced diet.