Blueberries are one of the few fruits which are native to the Northeast.
Delicate and difficult to pick, these tiny fruits make up for all the effort with each berry burst of dark, sweet juice laced with hints of lemon. In the wild, blueberries come in two varieties: low and high bush. Low bush plants cover the ground and due to the small size of the berries must be harvested by hand. High bush bear larger fruit making them slightly easier to harvest. The first cultivated varieties were developed from wild high bush plants by the daughter of a New Jersey cranberry grower in the 1900s. Considered a nutritional super food, blueberries contain high levels of cholesterol-lowering compounds, antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, folate and dietary fiber.
Today, many varieties of blueberries are available at market. Those that are bred only for size, however, lack any substantial acid and can be somewhat bland. For the best flavor, keep an eye out for small berries that are dark in color. While they might be time consuming to pick, blueberries are a dream to prepare. Simply spread out the berries in a single layer, remove the stems and/or any bruised fruits, swirl the berries in a cold water bath, and spread to dry on a clean towel. Unwashed blueberries will keep in the refrigerator for 5-6 days and in the freezer for up to six months.