Blueberries are little blue- or purple-colored berries that are native to North America. They are delicious, nutritious, and can be enjoyed in many ways. You can eat them on their own, in a fruit salad, in a dessert or smoothie, or in jam, jelly, or juice form!
Most people on a low-acid diet often run away from blueberries as they are thought to be acidic and trigger acid reflux symptoms. How true is that? Let’s find out.
So, are blueberries acidic? Yes, blueberries are acidic. They have high levels of citric, ascorbic, and arginine acids and their pH level can range from 3.1 to 3.3 depending on whether they are fresh, frozen, or dried. They are in fact one of the most acidic fruits out there.
Read on to find out more about the acidity levels of blueberries, factors that contribute to their acidity, how to reduce their acidity and more.
What Is the pH Level of Blueberries?
A pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. A pH of less than 7 indicates acidity and a pH of more than 7 indicates alkalinity. 0 is the maximum level of acidity that a substance can have, whereas 14 is the maximum alkalinity level.
On this scale, blueberries fall somewhere between 3.1 and 3.3, making them acidic. This pH level makes blueberries more acidic than several types of fruit.
Their acidity levels depend on whether they are fresh, frozen, or dried. The type of blueberry also plays a significant role in its acidity levels, with wild blueberries often being the lowest in acidity with pH levels ranging from 4.2 to 5.
The following key factors have a direct influence on the acidity of blueberries:
- Ripeness level and maturity
- Type of blueberries
- Environmental factors such as climate, soil conditions, and growing region
Are Blueberries Acidic – Do They Cause Acidity?
The good news is that when it comes to enjoying these delicious and nutritious berries, the benefits certainly outweigh the negatives in terms of their acidity.
Blueberries are acidic but they make up for it in their abundance of minerals and nutrients, making them one of the healthiest fruit out there. Therefore, there’s no reason to avoid eating them or taking them out of your regular diet.
One important thing to keep in mind though is that since all varieties of blueberries are acidic to some extent, eating large amounts of it, particularly on an empty stomach, can trigger acid reflux. All kinds of acidic foods can worsen the symptoms of reflux and blueberries are no exception.
Acid reflux is called heartburn in simple terms and is a condition that causes a painful burning sensation in the chest and discomfort in the throat. However, to feel these extreme adverse effects from eating blueberries, you must consume a huge amount.
To avoid any such situation, you must enjoy blueberries in moderation and avoid having them on an empty stomach. Luckily, there are also ways you can reduce the acidity of blueberries, which we will discuss next.
Can You Reduce the Acidity of Blueberries?
Although blueberries are naturally acidic, you can reduce their acidity in several easy ways. By doing so, you can not only enhance their flavor but make them more suitable for people on a low-acid diet.
You can try out the following methods and see which one works best for you:
Method 1: Pairing With Alkaline Foods
One of the best ways to reduce the acidity of blueberries is by pairing them with alkaline foods to neutralize their pH levels to some extent.
You can pair up the blueberries with high-pH ingredients and enjoy them as is or blitz them into a smoothie form. Although you can enjoy a small serving of blueberries without worry, in order to be extra cautious, you can combine them with other ingredients to offset their acidity.
Some of the best pairings with blueberries include almonds, walnuts, cashews, bananas, avocado, spinach, lettuce, kale, and coconut milk. These combinations not only help reduce acidity but also create a nutrient-rich snack or beverage.
Method 2: Rinsing With Baking Soda
Baking soda is a kitchen staple that has a lot of uses. It is a versatile ingredient that acts as a rising agent, a tough stain remover, and, thanks to its alkaline properties, a neutralizer for acidic foods.
When looking for a way to reduce the acidity of your blueberries, look no further than your kitchen pantry. Rinsing the berries with a baking soda solution will easily do the trick.
Dissolve a little baking soda in some water to create a solution. Next, put the blueberries in this solution, giving them a good mix so that they are properly coated. Once done, rinse them using plain water to get rid of any baking soda remnants on the blueberries.
Method 3: Cooking or Heating
Fresh blueberries can taste more acidic, which is why cooking or heating them can help neutralize their pH levels to some extent.
What you can do is simmer the blueberries in a small saucepan filled with water. For sweetness, you may add some sugar as well if you wish. Let them cook until they soften and start to release their juices.
This process helps bring down their acidity and gives them a more subtle taste. These cooked and less acidic blueberries can then be used as a topping for desserts or oatmeal or turned into blueberry-flavored sauces and syrups.
Another way to reduce the acidic taste of blueberries is by mixing them with sweeteners such as honey and sugar. This won’t necessarily affect their pH levels but will surely make them less tart and easier on the taste buds.
Is Blueberry Jam Acidic?
Jams are typically made using a lot of fruit and sugar and blueberry jam is no different. Since blueberries are acidic by nature, blueberry jam is acidic as well.
Acidic fruit such as blueberries, especially when mixed with extra sugar, have an adverse effect on digestion and increase acid production leading to heartburn.
Store-bought blueberry jam is particularly laden with sugar and preservatives making it highly acidic as well as unhealthy.
For a better and healthier option, you can prepare blueberry jam at home and adjust the ingredients and their quantities according to your requirements.
The acidity of homemade blueberry jam can be managed by adjusting several factors such as the ripeness of the blueberries used, the amount of sugar added, and the elimination of additives and preservatives.
Since sugar is sweet, it can help balance out the acidity of the blueberries, but adding too much can cause acidity and digestive issues. Sugar is also used to help preserve the jam, which makes it an important ingredient when making homemade blueberry jam.
A smart and healthy way to reduce the acidity of blueberry jam is to pair it with almond butter. Almond butter has a pH level of 8 and is alkaline in nature. The alkalinity of the almond butter can help neutralize the acidity of the blueberry jam and make it into a healthy and balanced snack.
Is Blueberry Juice Acidic?
Blueberry juice, like blueberry jam, is acidic. In fact, since it lacks the fibers that are present in the actual fruit, which makes the blueberry juice more acidic.
Since blueberry juice requires you to use more fruit, it results in you consuming more sugar and acids. That coupled with a lack of fiber can disturb your stomach lining causing heartburn and other symptoms.
Similar to store-bought blueberry jam, blueberry juice has a higher acidity level due to the presence of excess sugar and preservatives.
Homemade blueberry juice is always superior to the store-bought variety since you can adjust the amount of blueberries and sugar you add to it. However, consuming whole berries as opposed to having them in juice or jam form will always be better.
Are All Berries Acidic?
Yes, most berries are acidic. However, their acidity levels vary depending on the type and cultivar of the berry. Some berries are more acidic than others.
Gooseberries have a pH of 2.8 to 3 making them the most acidic in the lot. Blueberries have a pH level between 3.1 and 3.3, whereas strawberries have a pH between 3 and 3.5. Blackberries and raspberries are two of the least acidic in the berry family.
How Long Do Blueberries Last?
Fresh blueberries have a limited shelf life and need to be stored properly to be enjoyed for longer. Ripe blueberries left on the kitchen counter at room temperature won’t last for more than 1 or 2 days.
When properly stored and refrigerated, they can last up to 2 weeks without spoiling. To store them for longer, you can put them in the freezer where they will last for about 10 months.
How to Freeze Blueberries?
To freeze blueberries, wash them properly in a strainer and let them dry completely. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet and allow them to freeze for a couple of hours until they are at least partially frozen.
Place the frozen blueberries in a freezer-safe bag and take out as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Store for 10 months without worry.