belong to the genus Vaccinium and are related to the bilberry, cranberry,
huckleberry, hurtleberry, saskatoon, and whortleberry. These round,
smooth-skinned, dark blue, sweet and juicy berries with a dusty white bloom, are
native to North America and have been cultivated commercially since the early
1900's. The cultivated blueberries are up to four times as large as the
wild blueberries and are available from late May to late September.
blueberries grow on shrub like bushes in bunches of 3 to 4 berries. They
can be found throughout Canada and the United States, wherever there is acid
soil and adequate moisture. Cultivated blueberries are mostly grown along
the eastern seaboard, westward to Michigan. They are also cultivated in
British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest.
Most of the
blueberries sold in grocery stores are cultivated. When choosing
blueberries look for firm, plump, fragrant, dark blue berries with a dusty white
bloom. The white bloom is the blueberry's natural protection against the
sun and is a sign of freshness. Always check the underside of the
container for any wet spots or staining. Discard any soft, moldy, or
are excellent eaten out-of-hand or with cream, ice cream, or plain yogurt.
Also used in pies, tarts, cakes, muffins, quick breads, pancakes, cobblers, ice
creams, and jams and jellies. Frozen and canned blueberries are available
They can be
stored in the refrigerator for a few days or else frozen. Do not wash
until just before serving.