Friday, June 03, 2011

The Origin of Blueberries

This berry has several names – whortleberry, bilberry, hurtleberry and cousins – saskatoons and huckleberry.

Many botanists believe a blueberry antecedent could be the most ancient living thing on earth, stepping up to the cereal bowl at the whopping 13,00 years old.

Primitive man was a hunter and a collector and one of the things they liked collecting were berries. Blueberries being chock full of antioxidants and nutrients, were a chief sources of nutrition for many ancient civilizations.

During the times of the Greeks and Romans, blueberry relatives were an important part of the daily diet.
Cultivated blackberries were domesticated only in the twentieth century but probably were collected from the world for thousands of years in North America.

Prior to 1900, superior wild bushes were known to be cultivated, supplementing the wild harvested berries.

Indian have gathered the fruit for centuries an still continues considerably to the harvest. It was them who introduced the practice of burning to control encroaching shrubs, trees and other unwanted ‘weeds’ and to kill the pests and diseases that invade the blueberry patches.

The Indians who lived on the sores of what is now called Lake Huron mixed powdered, dried berries with water, cornmeal and wild honey to make pudding, reported by observer and explorer in the early 17th century.

Plantsmen and plant breeder, notably Frederick V. Coville, selected and bred large-fruited cultivars after the turn of the century that form the foundation of today’s modern blubbery industry.

During the 1960s commercial production of this second most popular berry increased 500 %.
The Origin of Blueberries