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The Life and Lovers of Blue

December 10, 2007

Since the blueberry is one of very few species of fruit native to North America, naturally, there is a particular soft spot in our continent’s history for the blueberry. The blossom end of each berry, the calyx, forms the shape of a perfect five-pointed star; the elders of Northern Native American tribes would tell of how the Great Spirit sent “star berries” to relieve the children’s hunger during a famine. Dried berries were added to stews, soups and meats or crushed into powder to flavor meats, especially for a kind of beef jerky referred to as Sautauthig (pronounced saw’-taw-teeg) produced and consumed year-round.

The blueberry also has a medicinal past that goes beyond just the natives of our continent. Native Americans used the leaves to produce tea, which was said to be good for the blood. The berry juice was extracted in order to treat coughs and the leaves, bark and roots were also included in other medical remedies for the Native American tribes, utilizing every part of the plant.

In 12th century Germany, St Hildegard of Bingen, the first woman to write on medicinal herbs, wrote that blueberry fruits were good for inducing menstruation. A few centuries later a German Herbalist named Hieronymus Bock, claimed that the fruit was useful for treating bladder stones, and lung and liver disorders. In 18th century Germany, blueberries (fresh or dried) were soaked in water to make infusions for syrups. These infusions were used to treat coughs, diarrhea, gout, and rheumatism, to relieve symptoms of typhoid fever, as a mouthwash to soothe mouth ulcers, as a diuretic, and to prevent against scurvy.

The British Royal Air Force pilots in World War II reported improved night vision on bombing missions after eating blueberry jam. Further research was conducted in the 1960’s and reported that the most effective medicinal use for blueberry extract appears to be for improving micro-circulation, which benefits the capillaries serving the eyes, and mucous membranes of the digestive and pulmonary systems (lungs).

So, throughout the years, the blueberry’s history has prooved it is held in high esteem in numerous countries during different time periods. It is believed to hold medicinal value in multiple cultures and situations, showing that the blueberry has charmed the world with its powers of intriguing spirits and improving life.

For more history on the blueberry visit Health and History of Wild Blueberries, Hungry Monster or Food Reference

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What can Blue do for you?

December 8, 2007

With the heavy interest in nutrient content for many natural resources such a fruits as expanded over the past years, circling around hot topics such as organic, antioxidants, “super foods,” carbohydrates, fat and sugar content and so forth, the blueberry has been praised, not only for being a natural healthy source for nutritional value but for its ability to protect and heal.

Blueberries, as an edible fruit, are low in sodium, contain no cholesterol, and are an excellent source of fiber (one cup contains about 16% of daily value), folate, manganese, potassium, vitamin A, C and K. Additionally, blueberries only 40 calories per ½ cup serving. Headlining the antioxidant benefits is none other than the blueberry. Researchers have found blueberries to be the higher in anti-oxidants than any other fruit or vegetable. Antioxidants help to treat various forms of brain injury. Additionally, people who eat fruits and vegetables rich in anthocyanins (a type of antioxidant found in blueberries) have a lower risk of cancer, heart disease and some neurological diseases. At a 2007 symposium on berry health benefits were reports showing consumption of blueberries may alleviate the cognitive decline occurring in Alzheimer’s Disease and other conditions of aging.

Reactions to feeding blueberries to animals include lowered stroke damage, prevention of urinary tract infections, lowered blood cholesterol and lipid levels (affecting symptoms of heart disease), as well as potential control of blood pressure.

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Pro-Blueberry

December 6, 2007

The only fruit that the Earth we live on, has been physically compared to, is none other than the proud blueberry (round and blue).

 

Upon closer examination of the blueberry, one might notice the ridge of skin near its top – opposite from where it was plucked from the stem – a jagged, frayed layer of skin, which fans out in a circle, bearing a striking resemblance to that of a crown.  In fact, among many, this is indeed known as the ‘crown’ of the blueberry.  This is fitting, seeing as the blueberry may in fact be the king of all fruits.

 

 

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Its skin is not tough or bitter like that of the orange, not riddled with seeds like the strawberry or the raspberry, and one need not slice into the blueberry, as with the garish watermelon, in order to elicit its flavorful reserves.

 

Its flavor is in a class all of its own – mild and slightly sweet, so as to satisfy without overwhelming.  It is not strong and sour like that of the lemon, neither is it dull and bitter like that of a grapefruit, and neither is it puckeringly sweet like the strawberry.

 

The size of the blueberry not only makes it easy for anyone to handle – from toddler to adult – but it also makes the magnificent fruit appealing as a convenient and light snack.

 

Texture also plays an important roll in the quality of a fruit.  The blueberry has such a texture that the skin provides some satisfying tension for the teeth to break into – all while being soft enough that a person with dental issues will not avoid eating a blueberry as they would a pear or an apple.

 

Perhaps the factor which makes the blueberry the most appealing of the fruits is its complete lack of waste parts.  With apple, you eat everything but you must eat around and dispose of the core and stem.  With peaches, cherries, watermelons, and countless more, you have pits and seeds, skins and rinds to work around and dispose of.  Even with strawberries, one must pick and throw away the leafy stem.  Blueberries, however, proudly hold the trait of liberating the snacker from any such chore.

 

 

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