Summer time in the north country means it’s time to start foraging for Vaccinium angustifolium, known by us common folks as wild low bush blueberries. Low bush blueberries are much smaller than their cultivated high bush cousins. They can grow to be 60 cm tall, although they are usually 35 cm tall or less. They like rocky, wooded, semi-open areas with acidic soils that are well drained. Their growth is stimulated by fire and the Indians used to burn areas to stimulate blueberry growth and production. Our berries grow on the bare rock areas on the farm in amongst various mosses and lichens. The leaves are blue-green in the summer and purple in the fall and the blossoms are white.
These blueberries are higher in antioxidants than the larger kinds that are cultivated. One reason is that the berries being smaller, give you more skin per pound and less pulp. The antioxidants are in the skin! In fact, wild blueberries give you twice as many berries per pound and that means a more nutrient dense food. Less pulp and juice also means they freeze better than the larger types. Wild blue berries also are high in the trace mineral Manganese.
You can find these plants growing wild in eastern and central Canada, the northeastern United States (as far south as West Virgina) and also in Minnesota and Manitoba. Keep your eyes open for these tasty, healthy, fun to pick fruits. Grab the children and head for the woods, they’re free for the picking!
Here is a list of trusted blueberry recipes, from some of my blogging friends, that you can try out with wild blueberries you bring home!
Blueberry Pancakes (Gluten Free)
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake
Whole Wheat Blueberry Zucchini Bread
Solar Oven Blueberry Mini Muffins
Simple Blueberry CrispBlueberry Syrup with Honey
Low Sugar No Pectin Blueberry Jam
Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins
Vanilla Blueberry Jam
Berry Yummy Muffins
Easy Blueberry Crumble
Pectin Free Jam
Blueberry Pie Filling
Blueberry Cornbread Skillet Cake