Summer’s favorite berry makes its debut.
by Maya Dangerfield
June 21st is Summer Solstice, or the first official day of summer. Honest Cooking is counting down to the longest day of the year with recipes featuring seasonal produce. Eat it while you can!
What About It?
Nothing signals the beginning of summer better than the blueberry. Alternatively known as Vaccinium corymbosum these deep blue berries are small fruits with a diameter that ranges from a dime to nickel. Part of the family that includes the mountain laurel and heather plant, the blueberry is cousin to the cranberry. Native to North America the blueberry we know and love didn’t exist before 1911. A finicky fruit that didn’t self-pollinate, the wild blueberry requires highly acidic soil to flourish. Thanks to the ingenuity of Dr. Frederick V. Coville and leading horticulturalist Elizabeth White the wild blueberry was cultivated into the pump and juicy variety enjoyed today. Whether fresh or frozen blueberries pack an impressive punch of vitamin C—an antioxidant that supports the immune system. The peak season to enjoy fresh blueberries is from June to August. Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, California, Georgia, and Washington are the United States’ top producers of the juicy fruit and each state holds summer festivals to honor the berry.
How to Use It
Blueberries can be enjoyed fresh or frozen. They can be eaten with their skins and unlike cranberries their seeds are nearly imperceptible. Ripe blueberries have a deep blue color so avoid berries that are green or a light purple. Picking fresh blueberries is easy—ripe berries will fall into your hand with a slight shake of the branch. When browsing your local farmers market look touch the berries to determine ripeness; ripe blueberries yield to the touch but aren’t overly mushy.
Looking for the latest blueberry recipe? Honest Cooking has you covered with these blueberry inspired favorites.