Everything You Need to Know about Blueberries
Did you know that blueberries are one of the only natural foods that are truly blue in color? You won’t find many others!
- Maine is the blueberry production capital of North America and produces almost 100 percent of all berries harvested in the country.
- America’s favorite muffin is blueberry.
- July is national blueberry month because that is the peak of the harvest season.
- The pale, powder-like protective coating on the skin of blueberries is called “bloom.”
- The annual harvest of North American blueberries would cover a four lane highway from Chicago to New York if spread out in a single layer.
- The anthocyanin present in blueberries is good for eyesight.
- Blueberries contain more antioxidants than most other fruits or vegetables and may help prevent damage caused by cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
- A blueberry extract diet improves balance, coordination, and short-term memory in aging rats.
- The blueberry industry of North America ships over 500 metric tons of fresh berries to Japan each year and over 100 metric tons to Iceland.
- Blueberries are naturally low in both fat and sodium.
- Blueberries grow best in acidic soil at a pH of four to five and make a good container plant.
- Minnesota claims the blueberry muffin as its official state muffin and New Jersey claims the berry as its official state fruit.
- Blueberries are the official berries of Nova Scotia, Canada.
- Taking their cue from Native Americans, early settlers of America introduced blueberries into their diets when other food sources were scarce.
- Early colonists made gray paint out of blueberries by boiling them in milk.
- Mocking their British roots, the first colonists added blueberries to traditional English fruit and dough puddings and renamed them “buckle,” “grunt,” and “slump.”
- The traditional blue paint used in the homes of Shakers was made from blueberry skins, sage blossoms, indigo, and milk.
- During the Civil War of the 1860s, blueberries were collected, packaged, and sent to Union troops for use as a food staple.
- Native Americans once called them “star berries,” because the five points of blueberry blossoms make a star shape.
- They held blueberries in high esteem, believing that the “Great Sprit” created the berries to feed their hungry children during famine.
- Blueberry juice had medicinal value for Native Americans as well and was used to treat persistent coughs and other illnesses.
- Blueberries were commonly used to make pemmican, a jerky type of dried food packed for sustenance on long journeys.
- They also used blueberries in non-traditional ways like making dye from blueberry juice for textiles and baskets.
Categories: 101 - lessons in food, Daily Food History, Encyclopedia, Food Facts
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