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New England colonists mistakenly gave the name of familiar European
hurtleberries, whortleberries, and bilberries to the somewhat
similar-looking native plants they found and that we call blueberries. Native Americans used dried blueberries somewhat the way Europeans traditionally have used dried currants --- as a sweet addition to grain-based desserts. Native Americans also made tea from blueberry roots, and used blueberry syrup for coughs. In 1616, French explorers spotted the native residents of the Lake Huron area gathering blueberries.
Alaskan red-backed voles so adore blueberries that they acquire blue teeth during blueberry season.
Blueberries appear to help reduce brain-aging, such as that implicated in Alzheimer's disease. According to the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, blueberries contain compounds endowed with the highest amount of anti-oxidant capacity among the 40 fruits and vegetables tested. Anthocyanin seems to be the good-guy here, also correlated with cancer-prevention and vision-preservation.
Blueberries should have a waxy silvery bloom, and should never be soaked. One pint of berries provides about four to five servings of fresh fruit.
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