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Blueberries were only recently domesticated. Before the early 20th century, the only place they could be found was growing wild in North America, where they were treasured by Native Americans for their delicious flavor and many health benefits. Blueberries have high levels of antioxidants, particularly a group of flavonoids called anthocyanins, which are thought to be responsible for many of the berry’s benefits.
Inside the super fruit
Straight from the Source
Blueberry, or Vaccinium corymbosum, is a perennial flowering bush that is native to North America that produce small blue berries that have many health benefits due to their high levels of antioxidants.
Native Americans called blueberries Star Berries because they believed they were sent from the stars by the Great Spirt to feed them and keep them healthy. In order to prevent them from forgetting their origin the Great Spirit marked the bottom of each fruit with a star.
In the early 20th century, the daughter of a New Jersey cranberry grower teamed up with a USDA botanist and domesticated the first blueberry plant. By the 1960s two hundred thousand seedlings had been spread across 13 states.
With over one billion pounds of blueberries are produced across five continents every year they are now the most common natural blue occurring food on the planet.
Blueberries grow on shade tolerant bushes that prefers acidic soil that holds moisture, but not standing water. After two years the bush will bloom with white flowers in the spring and have plump blue berries in early summer. Berries should be picked after a couple of days of turning blue and should fall off right into your hand to ensure optimal sweetness.
The half inch berries grow from floral buds that develop intermittently along the stem of the prostrate shrub, with each floral bud giving rise to 5-6 white flowers. The flowers will bloom into small pale greenish berries at first that turn reddish-purple before ultimately blue when ripe. Each bush can produce up to ten pounds of ripe berries that are covered in a protective coating of wax, also known as the “bloom”.
Many different names have been given to 450 varieties of Vaccinium that produce edible fruits, including bilberry, cowberry, crowberry, and partridge berry, however, ultimately the simple combination of their color (blue) with berry became part of the vernacular.
Blueberries are low in calories, high in nutrients, and are one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet, making them beneficial in fighting damage caused by free radicals.
Native Americans used blueberries in many ways including grinding in a powder to preserve meats, creating cough medicine from its juice, and using the leaves and roots to make a tea to treat several ailments. It was so prevalent in their diet, that it is almost certain they were featured in more than one form during the First Thanksgiving.
Other Potential Health Benefits of Blueberry *:
- Maintain brain function and memory
- Reduce soreness and fatigue after exercise
- Lower blood pressure
- Promote healthy heart function
Our Blueberry Source
Our Blueberries are sourced from an organic family farm in the Pacific Northwest.
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