Blueberries are perennial flowering plants with indigo-colored berries.
Blueberries are one of the few fruit species native to North America and have a colorful history dating back to pre-colonial times.
The blueberry was gathered and used by Native Americans for centuries before colonists arrived from Europe.
Blueberries are native to North America, and the highbush varieties were not introduced into Europe until the 1930s.
There are five major varieties of blueberry grown in the United States: lowbush, northern highbush, southern highbush, rabbiteye and half-high.
Blueberries are usually prostrate shrubs that can vary in size from 10 centimeters (3.9 in) to 4 meters (13 ft) in height.
The flowers are bell-shaped, white, pale pink or red, sometimes tinged greenish.
The fruit is a false berry 5-16 millimeters (0.2-0.6 inches) in diameter with a flared “crown” at the end. In botany, a “true berry” is a fleshy or pulpy indehiscent fruit in which the entire ovary wall ripens into a relatively soft pericarp, and the seeds are embedded in the common flesh of the ovary.
The blueberry fruits are round and contain many tiny seeds. The fruits, which are often clustered, are pale greenish at first, then reddish-purple, and finally indigo on ripening. They have a sweet taste when mature, with variable acidity. Blueberry bushes typically bear fruit from May through October in the Northern Hemisphere.
There are 83 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of blueberries.
Hailed as a “superfood,” blueberries are an excellent source of dietary fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, iron, and a number of antioxidants.
The health benefits of blueberries include the ability to boost heart health, lower cholesterol, stop DNA damage, reverse aging, promote weight loss, and boost brain health. Considered a superfood, blueberries can help fight cancer, soothe inflammation, boost immunity, enhance digestion, and prevent hair loss.
This amazing fruit also help to enhance mood and they are very good antidepressants.
Blueberries are sold fresh or are processed as individually quick frozen fruit, purée, juice, or dried or infused berries. These may then be used in a variety of consumer goods, such as jellies, jams, blueberry pies, muffins, snack foods, or as an additive to breakfast cereals.
Blueberry wine is made from the flesh and skin of the berry, which is fermented and then matured.
Blueberries were called “star berries” by Native Americans because the five points of blueberry blossoms make a star shape. Also, they believed that the ‘Great Sprit’ created the berries to feed their hungry children during famine.
The blueberries used by Native Americans were the wild, or low bush variety. Most blueberries that are cultivated today are the high bush variety that was domesticated in the early 20th century by Elizabeth White and Dr. Frederick Coville. The plants have been improved over the years to increase the size, color and yield of the berry. Even thought the wild berries are smaller, they are more flavorful than their cultivated cousins.
The U.S. is the world’s largest producer of blueberries. If all the blueberries grown in North America in one year were spread out in a single layer, they would cover a four-lane highway from New York to Chicago. Hammonton, New Jersey claims to be the “Blueberry Capital of the World, with over 80% of New Jersey’s cultivated blueberries coming from this town. Every year the town hosts a large festival that draws thousands of people to celebrate the fruit.
“When any lagged behind, the cry of ‘blueberries’ was most effectual to bring them up.” Henry David Thoreau