It’s blueberry season! And great farms like Davenport Farm in Stone Ridge, NY have been cultivating and pruning their berries for a long time getting ready for the harvest. This is a great time of year for us as we take advantage of the fairly short season by turning the little blue flavor bombs into marmalade four our milkshakes.
This little berry is one of the few fruit species native to North America and has a colorful past dating back thousands of years. Food historians estimate early strands burst on the scene an estimated 13,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest fruits consumed in our neck of the woods.
Native Americans believed the blueberry was sacred and referred to them as “star berries”, because of the blossom-end, or the calyx, forms a five-point star. Tribal elders would recount to their tribes how the Great Spirit sent “star berries” to them to help ease the suffering of children during times of famine.
The blueberries eaten by the Native Americans were the wild, or low bush variety that
grew wild in forests and on mountains. You can still find this strand of blueberries along dirt roads and mountain trails, especially in Maine. However, most blueberries that are cultivated today are the high bush variety. This strand of blueberry is larger in size, brighter in color, and yields more berries then the wild species. However, the low bush version is smaller, and more flavorful than their cultivated cousins.
Native Americans developed one of the first blueberry baked goods, which they called Sautauthig (pronounced sawi-taw-teeg). This dessert was a pudding made with blueberries, cracked corn, and water. Sautauthig became popular with the settlers too, they added butter, milk and sugar to the recipe. Many historians believe it was part of the first Thanksgiving feast.
Now, that you have a little history on these little blue dynamo’s we want to leave you with some fun facts on one of North America’s national treasure.
Blueberry Fun Facts!
1. Blueberries are one of the only natural foods that are truly blue in color.
2. The United States is the number one grower and consumer of the berries.
3. If all blueberries grown in North America in one year were spread-out in a single layer, they would cover a four-lane highway that would stretch from New York to Chicago.
4. The official state fruit of New Jersey is the blueberry.
5. The cultural group the Shakers, use blueberry skins as dye.