The blueberry is a Native American fruit and is one of the few ones which grow here. Blueberries are related to grapes and cranberries which are also other native plants of America. Blueberries are also known as huckleberries.
Blueberry is a natural sweet fruit and was grown widely when sugar was in short supply. In the initial days, it was very expensive to buy blueberries, as they played vital role in the diet of Native Americans. During the Civil War, patients were given blueberry juice due to its curative properties and health benefits.
In ancient times, blueberries were used in medicines and even the leaves and roots had medicinal properties. They were used to cure blood problems and also treat common cough.
Blueberry harvest begins in early spring in Florida and towards the end they are harvested in British Columbia. Because of the different harvest times one can enjoy the fruit in its fresh form throughout the year.
In British Columbia, nearly 12,000 acres of land is dedicated for blueberry crops. Today, British Columbia is the biggest producer of blueberries seconded by Michigan. Overall, North America is the world’s top producer of blueberries, and supplies it to ninety percent of the world’s population. A hundred metric tons of blueberries are supplied by North America to Ireland and a further 500 metric tons are exported to Japan.
Statistics show that if all the blueberries that are cultivated in North America had to be spread in one layer, then they would cover a 4-lane highway that stretches all the way from New York to Chicago. North America alone produces 120 million lbs of blueberry in a single year.
Blueberries are a very tasty fruit and have various culinary purposes. Blueberry cheese cakes, muffins, juices, sauces and several other drinks and desserts are very popular. Blueberries are acidic in nature and they change color while cooking. If they are used in combination with lemon juice or vinegar, they tend to become reddish in color.
The yellow pigment in blueberries is used in batteries because of their alkaline nature.
The United States celebrates the National Blueberry Month in the month of July. Even British Columbia celebrates a blueberry month that was first started by the Governor.
Swedish people use dried blueberries to treat diarrhea in children. It has a chemical called anthoscyanosides which is a natural substance and it can kill E. coli bacteria, which is a common cause for diarrhea.
Ronald Reagan liked blueberries so much that the popular blueberry jelly bellies were especially created for the former president.
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