It’s National Blueberry Month and the cultivated blueberry is turning 100 years old.
What better way to celebrate than with these deliciously different ideas for enjoying the low calorie, highly nutritious, antioxidant-boosting, body-protecting, hearthealthy super fruit!
In the early 20th century, people didn’t think blueberries could be domesticated, but in 1911 Elizabeth White, the daughter of a New Jersey farmer, teamed up with USDA botanist Frederick Coville to identify wild plants with the most desirable properties, crossbreed the bushes and create vibrant new blueberry varieties. Coville and White harvested and sold the first commercial crop of blueberries out of Whitesbog, N.J., in 1916.
Select a sunny location with well-drained soil that is weed-free and well-worked. It’s best to grow blueberries in an area where water is readily available so you can keep their roots moist throughout the growing season. Raised beds or patio containers are good options for areas where the soil is not ideal.
In most areas, it’s ideal to plant blueberries in the fall or spring. You can plant blueberry bushes as close as 2 or 2.5 feet apart to form solid hedgerows, or space them up to 6 feet apart so they grow individually. If you plant in rows, allow 8 to 10 feet between the rows. My preference is to grow them as individual plants because it is easier to harvest the blueberries.
Be sure to always water thoroughly after fertilizing.Blueberries are sensitive to over-fertilization, so follow the instructions on the label and measure carefully.
Mulching blueberry plants
Healthy Ideas for Enjoying Blueberries
- Top it off – sure, you can sprinkle blueberries over cereal, oatmeal, yogurt or ice cream, but making a brûlée is even better!
- Drink ’em up – add a handful, frozen or fresh, to your beverage of choice.
- Blend them in – blend blueberries into sauces, dressings, and dips.
- A different take on what you bake – besides muffi ns, scones, breads, and pies, why not bake some homemade granola bars?
- Creatively can – jam is great, but try canning some blueberry BBQ sauce or salsa to spice things up.