Which fruit is tiny, rounded, blue-colored, grow on bushes, and tastes incredible in a pie? Yes, we’re talking about blueberry. Blueberries are the size of peas and grow in clusters on bushes that can reach up to 4 feet tall. The leaves are shiny green, and the berries themselves are deep blue. They’re a great source of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. And they taste pretty amazing too!
These blue-colored berries have been a part of the American diet for a long, long time. Today, we’ll explore plenty of awesome blueberry facts for kids to learn more about this delicious fruit! Let’s get started!
1. There are about 30 commercial varieties of blueberries
The blueberries that we commonly eat today have been growing in the wild for a long time, and have over 150 different wild relatives, too. However, not all of them are edible. When it comes to edibility, there are roughly 30 varieties of Blueberries grown commercially around the world for human consumption.
2. Blueberries show great diversity in size
With over 30 different recognized varieties of blueberries being cultivated around the world, do you expect all of them to look the same? You won’t, because when it comes to size, these little berries show a lot of diversity, with the smallest varieties being as tiny as a pea and the larger ones sized like a marble.
3. Blueberries are one of the rare blue foods!
If you really look at the fruits and veggies we eat on a daily basis, you’ll notice how the variety of the color shown among them is quite rich. There’s red in tomatoes, green in avocados, yellow in potatoes, purple in eggplants, white in radishes, orange in melons, and so on.
However, when it comes to blue, you’ll need to scratch your head a bit before coming up with a name, unless, of course, you’re a blueberry fan. The rare color of these berries makes them even more unique in the world of fruits!
4. Blueberries have urn-shaped flowers
All of you must already know what urns are; they’re rounded vases with a separate base and stem and a curving opening wherein the ashes of the deceased are stored.
However, if you’ve ever seen a blueberry flower closely, you’ll realize how similar its shape is to the urn. While some people call them bell-shaped, their opening isn’t broad like a bell. Instead, they’re small-mouthed, with the petals curved naturally to resemble urns.
These flowers grow in clusters and are colored in varying shades of white and pink.
5. Blueberries originated in North America
Due to the cold climate of North America, not many fruits have originated here. However, blueberries are one of the few fruits on that list. These berries have been growing in the wilds of the continent for over 13,000 years!
It is their cultivation for commercial production that took place much later, in the 1900s.
6. There are two different kinds of blueberry bushes
You must already know that blueberries grow on bushes and not on trees. But did you know that the bushes these berries grow on have varieties as well?
There are two different kinds of blueberry bushes: highland and lowland bushes. The former, as their name indicates, are the taller variety that grows up to 6-8 feet. The fruits produced by these bushes are larger too. However, they can’t beat the latter in taste.
If you’re looking for sweeter and rich blueberries, you’ll find them on the lowland blueberry bushes. These bushes are no taller than 2 feet and produce a lesser number of fruits, but the small berries that grow on them have an intense flavor and rich taste.
7. European Blueberries aren’t actually blueberries!
Blueberries are North American fruits that are now cultivated in almost every part of the world, including Europe. But do you know that there’s another berry found in Europe?
While the Europeans refer to these fruits as European Blueberries, they aren’t actually blueberries but different shrub-grown berries from the same family. They’re officially called Bilberries and have been named after blueberries because of their similar size and coloration.
8. Experts call blueberries anti-aging fruits
Blueberries are super rich in antioxidants that fight the free radicals in our bodies. And since these free radicals are the major cause of aging, eating a blueberry-rich diet can actually keep you younger and healthier for longer. This is also why these berries are often referred to as anti-aging fruits by experts.
9. Legacy Blueberries are the sweetest blueberry variety in the world
It is no secret that blueberries are juicy, moderately sweet, and have a slightly acidic touch. But have you ever wondered about which blueberry variety is the sweetest of all?
The answer to your curiosity is Legacy Blueberries. These blueberries are a hybrid developed on a research farm in Maryland and are admired for their adaptability to all kinds of climates and the sweetness of their fruit.
10. Harvesting blueberries is a tedious task
While various fruits and vegetables nowadays are harvested mechanically, some are delicate and can only be picked manually to keep them intact. Blueberries are one such fruit.
They’re small and grow on bushes that can’t be shaken without being damaged. And because a single bush produces fruits in thousands, it takes a significant amount to pluck them.
Then there’s the added effort of trimming, pruning, and weeding the bushes. All these factors result in making these fruits expensive for us.
11. Washing refrigerated blueberries with vinegar can make them last longer
If you’re a blueberry lover, you must already have realized that these fruits thrive in cold climates. Once you take them out of the refrigerator, there’s no telling when they start going bad.
But if you want refrigerated blueberries to last longer, washing them in a water and vinegar solution can do the trick. This wash will kill all the mold that grows on the fruit’s surface, thereby extending its life.
However, make sure you use vinegar in moderation; otherwise, their taste might turn sour. Mixing one tablespoon of it with two cups of water should be enough.
12. The bloom of blueberries is an indication of their freshness
While eating blueberries, you must’ve noticed the white, powder-like coat that covers these berries. This coating is called bloom. Ever wondered what they’re there for? Let’s tell you.
This coat is Nature’s own pest control gifted to the blueberries. They cover the outer surface of blueberries, acting as a protective shield against all insects and pests. They’re also an indication of the fruit’s freshness.
Blueberries aren’t the only fruits that have a natural bloom; many other fruits, including apples, pears, and plums, have them as well.
13. The United States of America is the leading blueberry-producing country in the world!
Because blueberries are endemic to North America, it is only natural for the USA to be the leading producer in the world. The United States of America leads the blueberry production in the world, accounting for 38% of the total global production of these berries.
14. Blueberries are the national fruit of the USA
Seeing the United States lead the production of blueberries, it is only sensible for them to be the country’s national fruit. But wait! There’s another country with the same national fruit, and we’ll read about it next.
15. Blueberries are also the national fruit of Canada
While the United States tops the list of blueberry-producing countries in the world, Canada isn’t far behind either. Ranking third on the list, this country has declared blueberries their national fruit, just like the United States. This makes sense as they’re the most exported fruit in the country.
16. Washington is the largest blueberry-producing state in the country
Now that we know that the United States of America is the largest blueberry producer in the world, don’t you want to know which state is responsible for it? Here’s your answer: Washington.
The capital state of the country also happens to be its blueberry capital and is closely followed by Georgia, Michigan, and Oregon.
17. Florida Blueberries have an earlier fruiting season
On the list of the blueberry-producing states of America, Florida ranks eighth. If you saw the state two decades ago, you’d find no trace of a blueberry bush there. The cultivation of these berries began here 20 years ago.
But there’s one special thing about the Florida Blueberries that sets them apart from the blueberries of other states: their early fruition. The fruiting season for the Florida Blueberries takes place a couple of months early.
While the blueberry season in the other states occurs between May and July, in Florida, it comes between March and May. So, the next time you crave blueberries a little before their season, you can just go to Florida to buy yourself some!
18. Blueberries are also used to make wine!
You must’ve eaten blueberry pies, jams, and jellies, but do you know these berries can also be used to make wine? Yes, just like grapes, blueberries can also be used to make wine.
In fact, it is so easy to make blueberry wine that you can do it yourself at home with just three ingredients: blueberries, sugar, and vinegar.
19. The Native Americans called blueberries ‘Star Fruits’
As we’ve discussed earlier, blueberries grew in the wilds of North America for a long time before their commercial production began. During this time, these delectable fruits played a key role in the diet of the Native Americans.
These indigenous people even had their own names for blueberries; they called them star fruits or star berries after the five-pointed star formed at their base (blossom end).
20. July 18th is celebrated as National Blueberry Day
Blueberries are dense with both taste and nutrition, which is why they’re called superfoods. These superfoods are celebrated on July 18th every year, which is observed as National Blueberry Day.
And just like these fruits have multiple uses, they’re celebrated in different forms as well:
• Pick Blueberries Day: July 10th
• National Blueberry Cheesecake Day: May 26th
• National Blueberry Pie Day: April 28th
• National Blueberry Muffin Day: July 11th
Wrapping it up
With this, we’ve come to the end of our article. Hopefully, you’ve learned something new about blueberries. We’ve uncovered so many interesting facts about the national fruit of the USA. We also learned in detail about its origins, uses, and importance.
Thanks for reading. Perhaps now you’ll be more eager to incorporate them into your breakfast, or maybe you’ll want to grow a few blueberry bushes of your own. Whether you eat them by the handful, mix them in with your favorite cereal, or enjoy them in your muffins, it’s certain that blueberries will be a delicious part of a healthy, active lifestyle for years to come.
Have a nice day!