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Archive for August 19, 2017

TIP OF THE DAY: Things To Do With Blueberries

Got blueberries? There at an excellent price right now.

When October brings half pints of blueberries for $5 and more, you’ll be sorry you didn’t enjoy more of these during peak blueberry season.

So enjoy all the blueberry and mixed fruit salads, cocktails and pies. But also try the little blue orbs in:

BEVERAGES

  • Blueberry Lavender Water
  • Blueberry Lemonade
  • Blueberry Lemonade Cocktail
  • Blueberry Mango Chile Smoothie
  • Blueberry Pom Smoothie
  • Coffee Shake With Blueberries
  •  
    BREAKFAST

  • Baked Oatmeal With Blueberries & Almonds
  • Blueberry Breakfast Salad
  • Blueberry Yogurt Granola Parfait
  • Fresh Blueberry Muffins
  • On cottage cheese, French toast, oatmeal, waffles and
    plain, blueberry and vanilla yogurt
  •  
    MAINS, SAUCES & SIDES

  • Blueberry Gastrique For Grilled Meat, Poultry & Fish
  • Green Salad With Blueberries & Blue Cheese
  • Rack Of Lamb With Homemade Blueberry Jam
  • Scattered blueberries as a plate garnish
  •  
    DESSERTS

  • Blueberry Cobbler
  • Topping for angel cake, cheesecake, pound cake
  • Blueberry Sorbet
  • Lemon Blueberry and White Chocolate Cream Cake
  • No Bake Blueberry Cheesecake
  •  
     
    THE HISTORY OF BLUEBERRIES

    Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) are one of the few fruit species native* to North America and unknown in Europe: perennial flowering plants with indigo-colored berries. Also included in the Vaccinium genus are cranberries, bilberries and grouseberries.

    Vaccinum is a member of the Ericaceae family, which also includes the huckleberry (the most common in the U.S. is the black huckleberry, Gaylussacia baccata) and popular non-edibles including azalea, rhododendron and various common heaths and heathers.

    Blueberries are called by different names, including bilberry, cowberry, farkleberry and sparkleberry.

    Wild blueberries were gathered by Native Americans to eat as fresh fruit during the season, andused dried fruit thereafter.

  • The dried berries were used in soups and stews and as a rub for meats. They were mixed with dried meat and cornmeal into pemican, a nutritious, easily portable food carried by hunters and travelers.
  • Blueberry juice was used as a dye for bloth and baskets and to make cough syrup.
  • The leaves of the plant were made into a tea to “fortify the blood.”
  • With the introduction of honeybees by Europeans, the berries were mixed with cornmeal, honey and water to make a pudding called sautauthig.
  •  
    The blueberry was considered a sacred food by Native Americans, because the blossom-end of the berry is shaped like a five-pointed star. American Indians believed that the berries were sent by the Great Spirit during a great famine to relieve the hunger of their children [source].

    The Blueberries The Pilgrims Ate

    Dried blueberries also sustained the Pilgrims. When they arrived at Cape Cod in November 1620, blown off course from their Virginia† destination, it was far too late to plant crops.

    The settlers nearly starved to death until the Wampanoag people shared food and taught them to grow native plants such as corn and squash. The settlers of Plymouth learned which foods to gather and dry (blueberries, cranberries) to sustain them through the winter.

    The blueberries used by the Indians were the wild, or low bush variety, which are the state fruit of Maine, where they are a major crop.

    Most blueberries that are cultivated today are the high bush variety, domesticated in the early 20th century. The plants have been improved over the years to increase the size and color of the berry and the yield of the bush. Cultivation of the high bush blueberry has has been so successful that America now grows over 90% of the blueberries in the world.

    However, while Maine’s low bush blueberries are significantly smaller, they are more flavorful.

     

    Blueberry Breakfast Salad
    [1] Blueberry breakfast salad: combine any fruits atop greens (photo courtesy Blueberry Council).

    Blueberry Yogurt Parfait
    [2] Blueberry-yogurt-granola parfait (photo courtesy Fruits From Chile).

    Blueberry Vinaigrette
    [3] Blueberry vinaigrette for salads and broiled proteins (photo courtesy Wild Blueberries).

    Salad With Blueberries
    [4] Blueberries into a grilled chicken or salmon salad (photo courtesy CFAA).

    Salmon With Blueberry Sauce

    [5] Salmon with blueberry sauce (photo courtesy Munchery).

     
    Some 20 years ago, blueberries were anointed a “superfood” after studies of the benefits of antioxidants became part of healty eating in the U.S. Blueberries are one of foods highest in antioxidants.

    Blueberries are easily preserved by freezing, canning and drying. They can also be juiced or made into jam or preserves. The surge in the popularity of blueberries has caused home gardeners to plant these shrubs in nearly every growing area of America.

    ________________
    *Blueberries and cranberries, along with other indigenous fruits such as mayhaws and papwpaws, were unknown in the Old World. North America has its own native species such as cherries, grapes, plums, persimmons, raspberries and other species of which were well-known in the Old World. Here’s the list of fruits native to North America.

    †At the time, Virginia included the region as far north as the Hudson River in the modern State of New York. The Hudson River was their originally intended destination.

      

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