Food Fact Fridays!
- Image via Wikipedia
Blueberries are native to North America. Native Americans are believed to have given blueberries to the pilgrims to help them through their first winter. The Indians believed the blueberry or “star berries” were sent by the great spirits to curb the children’s hunger during the famine. The berries, along with the leaves were also used to cure ailments among the tribes.
In the early 1900’s, a man by the name of Dr. Frederick Coville and a woman by the name of Elizabeth White, both of Whitesbog, NJ, combed the forests of the Northeast to select different blueberry plants with highly desirable properties in trying to domesticate the wild highbush blueberry to create new varieties. In 1916 they succeeded with their first commercial crop of the blueberries that are still enjoyed today.
Something I learned, and never knew, the blueberry is part of the family that includes flowering azalea, mountain laurel and heather. All of these plants, including the blueberry, thrive in acidic soil, love water, and cooler climates. Dozens of varieties of blueberries are being grown across the US, Canada, and South America, with 90% of the crops produced are found in Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, North Carolina, Georgia and Washington.
Research suggests that blueberries are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help to neutralize unstable molecules linked to several diseases including cancer, cardio-vascular disease and age-related conditions like Alzheimer’s. It has been found that blueberries help in healthy brain functions. A diet that is rich in blueberries may aid in recovering the loss of balance and co-ordination as well as improving short-term memory loss.
Blueberries sound like a pretty powerful fruit. A recommended serving is 1 cup. That is one half of the government’s suggested 2 cups of fruit a day. That one cup of blueberries has over 14 mg of vitamin C and only .5 grams of fat. Blueberries are very versatile. You can use them in sweet and savory dishes so incorporating them into your diet will be easy.
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!