April 28 is officially America’s National Blueberry Pie Day. This day, like most holidays, is only as special as you choose to make it. Most people likely won’t celebrate this day (what a shame!) but honestly, does one really need an excuse to justify a slice of fresh blueberry pie? In order to make the day a bit more festive, here are the top five things everyone should know about today’s food of the day: blueberries!
1. Blueberries have always been abundant in North American and were an important staple food in the diet of Native Americans. Native Americans called the fruit “star berries” because of the five points of a blueberry blossoms. Native Americans also used blueberry juice to treat persistent coughs and other illnesses.
2. In early colonial times, blueberries were used not only as a food source, but also to dye clothing, textiles, and baskets. Early settlers even made gray paint by boiling blueberries in milk.
3. Blueberries rank #1 in antioxidant activity when compared to 40 other fresh fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants reduce “free radicals” that lead to cancer and other age-related diseases. Blueberries also help reduce bad cholesterol that can lead to cardiovascular disease and stroke.
4. American poet Robert Frost was so enamored with blueberries that he wrote an epic poem about them entitled, you guessed it, “Blueberries”. This poem was first published in the literary journal North of Boston in 1914. You can read the poem many places, including here.
5. Blueberries are the second most beloved berry in the United States, falling just behind the strawberry. But today, we poo-poo the strawberry and lift our glass to one of the nation’s only natural foods that is truly blue in color. Besides being dynamically colored, blueberries are low in sodium, high in dietary fiber and potassium, and only 40 calories per ½ cup serving. Three cheers!
Photo Source: Schopie1