Everything You Need to Know about Blueberries
Posted on April 28, 2012
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.