Blueberries: Blueberries are native to North America; the wild varieties of the plant are referred to as lowbush and the cultivated varieties as highbush. Native Americans used blueberries to season ceremonial pemmican, a mixture of dried elk, bison, or deer meat powder and melted fat. Blueberries are a true berry: the seeds and flesh are produced from a single ovary. Blueberries are a member of the heath family, which includes cranberries and huckleberries.
Raspberries: Raspberries are believed to be native to East Asia. Brought by the Crusaders from Turkey, the red raspberry was the first variety to be cultivated in Europe. Raspberries exist in a spectrum of colors: red, black, yellow, orange, amber, and white. The raspberry is not a true berry, as it is produced from the merging of several ovaries.
Strawberries: Strawberries are native to temperate zones in Europe and North and South America. The strawberry is also not a true berry, in the botanical sense. The flesh we eat is actually a swollen part of the stem, called the receptacle
- Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries all grow in the wild and are cultivated in Vermont.
- The blue pigment in blueberries comes from a group of antioxidants called anthocyanins. The waxy coating on the surface of blueberries is called the “bloom”.
- Raspberry bushes have thorns—be wary!
- Native Americans called strawberries “heartseed berries” and ground them into cornmeal bread. Inspired by this recipe, colonists created a similar version, referred to today as strawberry shortcake.
- Blueberries: A good source of vitamin C, potassium, sodium, and fiber.
- Raspberries: An excellent source of vitamin C and fiber.
- Strawberries: An excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of potassium.