National Blueberry Month
Blueberry History in the United States
July was proclaimed National Blueberry Month by the United States Department of Agriculture on May 8th, 1999. Blueberries are grown in 35 states in the US, and the United States produces over 90% of all of the blueberries in the world. They have been used in soups, stews and more, for centuries. According to Ark-LA-Tex, the Native Americans taught the pilgrims to use blueberries in many ways. Blueberries were dried in the sun and ground into a powder. The powder was used to make a pudding called Sautauthig, and it was used to season meat as a spice rub.
Blueberries And Your Health
The Native Americans also believed that these little blue berries were good for your health. Blueberry tea is supposed to help relax women during childbirth, leaves from the blueberry bush were used to make a blood purifier that was good for the kidneys, and blueberry juice was supposed to be good for coughs. Modern medicine also identifies the health benefits of blueberries. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the Rutgers Blueberry Cranberry Research Center in Chatsworth, N.J. found that blueberries help prevent infections in the urinary tract in much the same way that cranberries do. They may also help to prevent macular degeneration according to Ronald L. Prior, Ph.D., director of the USDA.
Did you know that eating blueberries could also be one of the keys to living to a ripe old age? Well, if you take a look at the research, foods that are rich in antioxidants are supposed to help reduce your chance of getting cancer and heart disease, and blueberries are loaded with them. Out of 40 different fruits, juices and vegetables, the blueberry comes in with the highest antioxidant level, according to the North american Blueberry Council. Just three and a half ounces of blueberries are equivalent to over 1700 International Units of vitamin E.
According to the North American Blueberry Council, you should not wash your blueberries before you freeze them. If you buy the berries in a pint box, simply wrap the box tightly in cellophane to make it airtight, or slip it into a resealable plastic bag (squeeze out as much air as possible). Then freeze. If you buy the berries in bulk, freeze them on a cookie sheet first and then transfer them into a freezer container. Keep frozen until ready to use.
Substitute Fresh Blueberries For Canned Blueberries
According to Texas Blueberries, If a recipe calls for a can of blueberries, you may make your own by using 2-1/2 cups of fresh blueberries, 1 tablespoon of corn starch, 1-1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice, 1/8 cup of water. Cook until thickened and clear. Cool before using as a substitute.
To celebrate National Blueberry Month, try out some of these great recipes.
1. A Special Historic Recipe - Sautauhig
2. Blueberry Smoothies and Drinks
3. Blueberry Desserts
Blueberry Learning Links
Lesson Plan #1 - Blueberries Have Roots
How did early settlers learn to use blueberries?
Lesson Plan #2 - Blueberries Are Everywhere