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Harvest of the Month

August - Berries

Berries
History
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


Fun Facts
  • 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.

Benefits
  • 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.

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