One of my favourite breakfasts is granola. To this, I add milk, a dollop of Greek yoghurt and plenty of fresh fruit. At this time of year I tend to plump for bananas, strawberries, grapes and blueberries.
When I was young, I’d never heard of blueberries. In fact, I don’t think they existed in the UK until recently! They seem to have exploded in the last few years and I suspect it all began with American muffins – blueberry muffins to be exact.
Blueberries are delicious-tasting tiny fruits which are native to North America. Blueberry plants can be anything from 10cm to 4m in height. The plant’s flowers are pretty, bell-shaped often white in colour, sometimes pink or red. The fruit – the blueberry – is pea-sized, indigo in colour when ripe and absolutely yummy. There are not many foods in nature that are blue â€“ the blueberry is the one that springs to mind first because of its name!
Did you know that blueberry muffins are the most popular in America? I would have guessed chocolate. They are so bananas about blueberries (see what I did there?!), the month of July is National Blueberry Month. In fact during the summer months there are nearly 20 festivals in the US and Canada that celebrate blueberries.
Blueberries are very tasty – but they can also easily stain worktops, clothes and even skin. Because of its unusual indigo-blue colour, the blueberry has been used for many years as a natural dye. It was also used to make a soft-grey coloured paint.
You may have heard that the blueberry is one of the top ten ‘superfoods’. This means foods that are absolutely packed with antioxidants â€“ and antioxidants are thought to protect against cell damage. There is a lot of controversy surrounding superfoods: firstly there is no authoritative definition of what a superfood actually is and secondly the EU has banned health claims on food packages unless backed up with scientific evidence.
Whether blueberries have the ability to help our bodies is rather a moot point in my opinion. They are ‘scrummy little fruit bombs’ and I think everyone should have them for breakfast every day!
If you are green-fingered and fancy a bash at growing a blue food, the RHS website is a great place to start. Another place you might like to visit is the Nature section of our site. It’s packed full of quizzes on animals, plants and all else ecological. If you love the natural world then it’s the place to go to test your natural knowledge!