Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blueberry Oil

I never thought of a blueberry as an oil source until recently, when I visited with cosmetic chemists.  Blueberries contain a very small or immature seed that can be pressed for oil.  Some varieties have a more defined seed, but for the most part you will not even notice it.  The seed is pressed into a very pleasant oil and marketed in the cosmetic industry worldwide.
Here is what one of the suppliers in the USA say on the spec sheet:  Fruitsmart in Washington State says: 
Blueberry seed oil is prepared by the mechanical cold press expeller processing of blueberry seeds.  No solvents or chemicals are used during any step of production.  The process yields unrefined blueberry seed oil which is then lightly filtered and purged with nitrogen and packed securely in appropriate containers.  This product is processed, packaged and shipped in accordance with Current Good Manufacturing Practices and in compliance with the United States Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 as ammended.
Appearance:  light green
Aroma: no off notes (I say it has a wonderful  blueberry aroma!)
Solubility: lipid soluble
Extraneous matter: clear
Peroxide value: <15mg/kg
Specific gravity: 0.923

Now, the big question.  What is it used for.  I talked to cosmetic chemists who are currently using it in a whole variety of skin applications.  Just for the aroma of real blueberries it is worth the pricy price tag!  (Send me a note and I will fill you in).  According to oil chemists, the blueberry oil has some very interesting functional characteristics for food and non food uses including special applications in mechanical engineering.  
Now this is all interesting stuff, and I must get to work to update a new column on the Blueberry supplier list!  I understand there are a few suppliers.
Will upload a photo soon.

Monday, February 11, 2013

California Blueberry Pioneer Retires

Just saw a flyer from California Cooperative Extension in Tulare, County announcing their Blueberry activities.  Included a note from Manuel Jiminez, the Small Farms Advisor announcing his retirement on June 30, 2013.
Here is the message:

 "Dear Friends and Colleagues:  Since I began my career as a Small Farms Advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension on June 1, 1980, I have come to appreciate the kindness bestowed on me and the countless friendships I have made.  Although it was a difficult decision, my family, community and volunteer commitments require more of my time.  And, so, on June 30, 2013 after 33 years,I will be retiring from University service.  I look forward to continuing to serve you over the next five months, visiting you at your farms and greeting you at upcoming meetings."

I first met Manuel at the Parlier Station 15 years ago when I had heard that they had some blueberries.  I was unannounced, and ran into him while wandering around the center.  He dropped all he was doing, showed me his amazing work.  He had all sorts of unusual fruits growing in almost impossible places!  Oe of these plants was the blueberry.  Thank you Mauuel!

Oh yes:  The rest of the note--
March 10-12, 2013:  California Small Fruit Conference
May 22-23, 2013:  Blueberry Field Tour & Meeting
June 8, 2013: Blueberry Tasting

Sunday, February 10, 2013

New Research Library

Hello Blueberry Fans!  We have just established a new blueberry research database.  It is searchable.  Have added all of the latest research citations and am working my way back.  Please let me know what you think! I know it does not work well with I-pads now but I will work on that!  Thanks for your feedback!  And thanks to Raj Kapoor's crew in Delhi for helping with the huge amount of data entry!