NC Local Flavors – Blueberries

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Local flavors, seasons of the yearWe are opening our new series about local foods with the marvelous Blueberry!

Blueberry Season

In our area, the blueberry season has always been associated with hot summer days! The most common variety of these called rabbiteye blueberries, ripen from June through August. This means Summer is the best time to get some good quality and the best value local blueberries.

The Native Fruit

No matter if you pick them yourself or purchase them at the grocery store or your local farmers’ market, this native berry has been part of the Americas since before colonization. Based on information from the Smithsonian Libraries blog, colonizers chronicled blueberry bushthe relationship of Native Americans with this blue fruit since the 1600s. One of the dishes called sautauthig, was made with dried blueberries and dried, cracked corn mixed with water to make a pudding-like mix. Centuries later, the blueberry was “domesticated” and turned into a commercial crop.

Recipes

With only 42 calories per half-cup, blueberries can use enjoyed in many ways. You can eat them alone, in a parfait, frozen, in a smoothy, etc. If doing home canning, you could try the delicious Blueberry-Lime Jam or the Blueberry-Spice Jam. Here are some links to websites celebrating the blueberry and recipes you could use to enjoy this local flavor of the month:

National Blueberry Festival

How to Freeze Blueberries

Blueberry-Spice Homemade Jam (remember to always use the proven method for food preservation)

Blueberry-Lime Jam

Recipes from US Highbush Blueberry Council

How to Grow Blueberries

Blueberry’s Nutrition and Serving Ideas – Harvest of the Month: Blueberries

Where to Pick Blueberries

For more information about nutrition, healthy eating, locals foods, and food preservation, please contact Ivelisse Colón, Family & Consumer Sciences Agent at ivelisse_colon@ncsu.edu or call 919-246-2055.