The mystery of why blueberries are coated in a strange white powder when you buy them at the supermarket has finally been solved.
Don’t worry, it’s completely natural, as chef Matt Tebbutt discovered, the waxy coating – which comes off easily when you wash them – is called bloom, and it’s there to protect the fruit from damage and disease.
Matt Tebbutt found out exactly why blueberries have a visible white coating on a visit to a blueberry farm in Poland, which ships about 500 tonnes of the fruit to the UK each year. The Owner Agata Małkiewicz told Matt: ‘This waxy coating that’s covering the blueberries is actually called “bloom” and it’s protecting the berries. ‘It’s natural and it’s not put on artificially. It protects the berries from any external damage.’
The bloom, otherwise known as epicuticular wax, helps stop bacteria and fungal spores from sticking to the fruit and spoiling them, Matt then explained.
In fact, all fruit is coated in bloom – and it’s just because blueberries are so dark that it is more visible.
Although the white film may put some off, shoppers should in fact actively seek blueberries covered in the waxy coating as it means they are fresher.
Matt explained: ‘The waxy coating does such a good job of sealing in moisture and preserving freshness that [farms] don’t wash them before they reach the supermarket because they don’t want to remove any of the wax.’
Fresh blueberries are harvested by hand, which is why they cost more than other fruit.