If you’ve regularly tuned into Food Republic, you know we’ve been obsessing over summer produce (as we do every year). Eggplants, cherry and heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches, cherries and more are in season. Early August marks the beginning of wild blueberry season in Maine, which means it’s time to lay down some facts about the original aboriginal berry.
Sharon Parks of Josh Pond, a small family-operated farm in Whiting, Maine, tells us that wild blueberries are only in season for a scant five weeks of the year. Josh Pond has been in the wild blueberry business for five years and ships frozen blueberries nationwide. We spoke to Parks about these wild berries; here are 10 useful things we learned:
- Wild blueberries are Maine’s state fruit.
- Parks says that many cultivated blueberries are pumped with water, while wild berries aren’t. This makes them smaller, sweeter and firmer.
- They have a purplish hue rather as compared to cultivated blueberries that are pale blue.
- Compared to regular blueberries, the wild variety has double the amount of antioxidants and fiber.
- Wild blueberries have half the amount of sugar as cultivated blueberries.
- They’re also found in southeastern parts of Canada.
- They’re native to North America.
- Because they’re so easily bruised, it’s tradition in Maine to harvest wild blueberries by hand.
- Wild blueberries don’t just belong in jams and pies. Some savory applications include pesto, grilled cheese, barbecue sauce and mignonette for your oysters.
- They make a great watercolor paint — try it at home!