Clasa a 12-a B
Colegiul Național “Mircea cel Bătrân”
The blueberry plant (lat. Vaccinium myrtillus) is a branchy, dense shrub which belongs to the Ericaceae Family. It can be found in different regions of the world, including Europe, the Western part of the Unites States and Canada, the North of Asia and Greenland. The resulting fruit of this shrub is called blueberry, a dark blue berry that produces a sweet-sour violet juice with a pleasant taste. The shrub grows in the alpine areas, especially on the shady slopes up to an altitude of 2500 m.
Blueberries bring many benefits to the human body. Of all fruits, they show the highest antioxidant capacity, as a result of the presence of anthocyanin, the pigment that gives the blue colour of the fruit. They can prevent cancer and they also useful at fighting against it. According to some recent studies, the blueberries inhibit the progression of colon cancer and could actually destroy the cancer cells. They are good for preventing or treating cardiovascular diseases because they lower the cholesterol level. If you wish to lose the fat gained in your abdominal area, a blueberry cure is suitable, fact proven also in a study of the Michigan University, that states that the regular presence of these fruits in our diet has a significant impact on our weight and liver health.
The fruit is mostly made out of water (86%), but it also contains sugars (0,8 – 1,2%), proteins (0,8 – 1,2%) and vitamins, such as vitamin A, C, B1, B2, E. Among the minerals that the fruit contains there are potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sulphur, magnesium and iron.Blueberries are an acidic fruit,which means that they contain big amounts of citric acid and other acids like tartaric, oxalic,benzoic and malic acid. The main active component of the blueberry is tannin.
Meaning to peoples
It might be a tiny berry but its culture is wide-spread. Blueberries are native to North America and explorers noticed this fruit during many of their expedition. In 1615,Samuel de Champlain sau the Amerindians who lived in the area of Lake Huron how they picked up wild blueberries. The Natives ate this fruit fresh or they would often dry it and use it during the winter for different dishes. They would make a dish called pemmican which was made by mixing berries with dry fish or other dried meats. From the resulting paste, they would bake some flat bread that was let to dry in the sun.Another dish with blueberries was sautauthig, a pudding from dried berried mixed with water, corn and honey. During an expedition, Lewis and Clark were served by the Natives a some meat dish stuffed with blueberries.
When the English came to the New World, they tried to deploy new methods of agriculture, specific to the region where they came from. Because these were not appropriate for the plants that grew in America, the result was disastrous. The colonists suffered of hunger until the Indians taught them about the plants that grew there. Apart from being instructed by the Wampanaog Indians on how to plant corn, they have also shown them how to harvest and dry the blueberries for the winter.
Symbolism and medicinal uses
For the Native tribes, the blueberry had great significance. The blossom of each fruit is shaped like 5-point star and because of that it was believed that the “Great Spirit” had given these berries to the people in order feed the starving children during famine. Also, the native Americans used blueberries for medical purposes, making a tea out of the plant’s roots that they used as a painkiller during the women’s labour. Out of the fruit’s juice they made an effective cough syrup and the leaves were used to make a tea which had the purpose of strengthening the blood. In order to treat the visible injuries, the Indians mixed blueberries with corn flour and put the mixture on the wound to prevent the prior infection.
You can cook a lot of things using blueberries that are healthy and tasty at the same type. For those who has decided to adopt a raw-vegan lifestyle, it is known that smoothies are an important part of their diet so I have decided to come up with a blueberry smoothie recipe. You are going to need :
a cup of almond, cashew, macadamia or soy milk
a cup of fresh apple or orange juice
a cup or two of fresh or frozen blueberries
a handful of raw almonds and another of hazelnuts
a teaspoon of flaxseeds
All the ingredients are put in a blender and mixed until it gets a creamy consistency. If you prefer a little less thicker consistency, you may add some liquid to the shake. Out of all the ingredients you will get 2 smoothies.
I really like blueberries, berries in general, but they seem to have something special. When I was little, my father’s aunt used to make blueberry and strawberry jam that my mom used when she cooked (or better said was in mood of making) pancakes. Of course, the best were those with blueberry jam and I also loved watching the purple juice draining out of the pancake in my hand and making mess all around. The first time I have ever had blueberries right from the shrub was when I went on a trip on the Ceahlau mountain, a few years ago. In our way to the Toaca peak there were some groves where grow fruits that were visited by all the tired travellers who wanted to taste some of them. I stopped to check as well and I enjoyed some handfuls of berries (I have to admit that harvesting is a bit boring). At one moment I realized that the main reason for eating the fruits was because it made my lips blue and it looked as if I was wearing lipstick (I love dark lipsticks).
I found it pretty interesting to search for information abou blueberries. I actually found out new things that I would have never thought like how Native considered the fruit a gift from the “Great Spirit” and the different different dishes that they would make using blueberries. I came across a lot of aspects of this fruit, from scientific matter to its symbolism.