History of blueberries
Blueberries were here when the first wave of settlers arrived in what was to become America. Early explorers noted wild blueberries on their expeditions. In 1615, Samuel de Champlain saw Indians along Lake Huron harvesting wild blueberries. These were dried, beaten into a pulp/powder and combined with cornmeal, honey and water to make a pudding called “Sautauthig”. Explorers Lewis and Clark, while on an expedition found that Indians smoked wild blueberries to preserve them for winter use. A meal served to them by the Indians had wild blueberries pounded into the meat — which was then smoked and dried.*
The legacy 100 years in the making
In the early 20th century, people didn’t think blueberries could be domesticated, but Elizabeth White, the daughter of a New Jersey farmer, was determined to grow a flourishing industry for cultivated blueberries. In 1911, she teamed up with USDA botanist Frederick Coville to identify wild plants with the most desirable properties, crossbreed the bushes and create vibrant new blueberry varieties. Coville and White harvested and sold the first commercial crop of blueberries out of Whitesbog, N.J., in 1916. In 2015-2016, we are commemorating the history of blueberries and the Centennial anniversary of the fruits of their labor.
Health benefits of blueberries
Blueberries are very high in antioxidants, particularly anthocyanin, which has been shown to fight inflammation and improve cognitive brain functions. Blueberries make for the perfect snack since they are low in calories, but high in nutrients such as fiber, manganese, vitamin K, and vitamin C. When they aren’t in season, opt for dried or frozen blueberries.**
Infographic courtesy of: www.blueberrycouncil.org