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Blueberry is an edible fruit of the plant that belongs to the Vaccinium genus. Blueberry grows on a shrub or a small tree. The taste of blueberry varies between sweet, tart and tangy. Blueberry comes in different colors ranges from blue to maroon and also in dark purple color. Some blueberries are similar to the size of pea and some varieties are in the size of a marble. The best months in which blueberries grow are May-October. Blueberry is widely used in making several desserts, beverages and alcoholic drinks. Blueberry recipes are quite popular in global cuisine.

History of Blueberry

Blueberries are believed to be native to North America. Various species of blueberry are found to be grown in different regions such as Florida, Eastern Canada and Pacific Northwest. Some North American species of blueberry are now being growing in Australia as well. The commercial cultivation of blueberries has started in 1916.

Culinary Uses of Blueberry

Blueberries are naturally sweet hence they are mostly eaten raw unlike other sour berries. Blueberries are ideally used in making baked items such as cakes, muffins and pies. Either fresh or frozen blueberries can be used in making innumerable blueberry recipes. Dried form of blueberry is also popular as an ingredient in breakfast cereal dishes. Blueberry blends very well with milk, yogurt and cream; hence various types of blueberry dishes are made with dairy products. Desserts and even savory dishes including meat dishes are made by using blueberry in any form. Blueberry puree or juice is a well-liked ingredient in making jams and jellies. Sauce made by blueberries is fondly used in roasted meat dishes and sautéed blueberries are widely added to chicken and turkey dishes. Blueberry dishes such as salads and soups are well-suited to any exotic meal. Alcohol and beverages are also flavored with blueberries.

Popular Blueberry Recipes

• Pemmican – It is a traditional North American dish consisting of blueberries and dried meat.

• Blueberry cobbler – This is one of the most popular baked blueberry dishes. It is mainly served as a dessert.

• Blueberry Jell-O salad – It is a blueberry salad made with jello gelatin, crème cheese and thick cream. Nuts are garnished on top of the salad.

• Blueberry coconut soup with lime – It’s a perfect dish for vegans as it is a dairy-free blueberry dish.

• Blueberry liqueur – It is one of the most popular blueberry recipes that blends vodka with fresh blueberries.

Cuisines Commonly Making Blueberry Dishes

Blueberry recipes are most commonly made in the cuisines of USA and Canada. Blueberry muffins, pies and cakes are quite popularly baked blueberry dishes in both the cuisines. European cuisine also use blueberry in making jams and jellies. It is also widely eaten as a raw fruit in all these cuisines. In Australian and South African cuisines, blueberry dishes are getting popularity after the introduction of fruit in recent times. Blueberry recipes are mostly used in desserts and baked items.

Preferred Methods of Cooking Blueberry Dishes

• Baked – This is one of the most preferred methods of cooking blueberry dishes as most of the blueberry recipes are for baked items.

• Sautéed – Blueberries can be sautéed along with meat and other ingredients.

• Pureed – Blueberry puree is widely used in making jams and blueberry jellies.

• Mixed – Whole or half blueberries are mixed with other ingredients to make salads.

• Extracted – Blueberry juice is extracted and used as an ingredient in various blueberry recipes.

• Blended – Whole blueberries are blended in food processor with milk to make blueberry shake and smoothies.

Nutritive Value of Blueberry

Blueberry is a good source of vitamin C and it helps in curing diarrhea and food poisoning. It contains a certain kind of bacteria that helps in curing the urinary infection and also prevents the infection to spread in the membranes of bladder and urethra. Blueberry acts as an antioxidant and prevents certain type of cancers. According to a new study the supplements of blueberry juice are able to increase the power of learning in adults and will also reduce blood sugar.

Buying and Storing of Blueberries

While buying and storing blueberries, following points should be kept in mind:

• Blueberries should be firm and deep-purple in color.

• Fully ripe blueberries should be purchased as they are only sweet in taste.

• Smooth and blemish free skin is the sign of fresh berry.

• Over-ripe berries should not be purchased.

• Blueberries should be stored in a container in refrigerator.

• It can be stored for up to one week in the refrigerator.

• Blueberries should be washed thoroughly before using.

• Leftover blueberry dishes should also be stored in refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.

Types of Blueberries

Here is an overview of various varieties of blueberry:

• Highbush blueberries – This variety is the most commonly sold variety of blueberry. This variety is called highbush because it is grown in tall bushes and its fruit is also about an inch long.

• Half-high blueberries – This variety is not exactly similar to highbush variety but it has the same growing pattern like highbush.

• Lowbush blueberries – This is not exactly the bush grown variety as it is very low in height. It grows like a mass of leaves or plant on the ground.

• Rabbiteye blueberries – This variety is longer than the highbush variety and is native to Southeastern regions.

Blueberry: Trivia

• Blueberries boiled in milk were used as grey paint by the Americans in early years.

• Blueberry has the status of being the Nova Scotia official berry.