IT IS National Blue Pancake Day. That’s breakfast sorted, then. Or, if you’re reading this in the afternoon – lunch, your afternoon tea break, tea, or dessert after dinner.
It wasn’t an imaginative person who named blueberries. It’s like the Official Berry Namer got round to the Vaccinium genus and used up all their creative juices on cranberries, bilberries and grouseberries.
Then they got to blueberries. They’re blue. What shall we call them? Darn it – “blueberries” will do. Let’s go make a pancake.
Blueberries evolved in the USA and can now be grown in most temperate climates. Blueberry bushes grow in the wild as low scrub, but larger bushes have been bred and commercial or domestic growers will usually cultivate bushes that are around 5ft high. They like acid soils and a good amount of light.
Tasty though the blueberry is, its little cousin the bilberry is much tastier – but harder to cultivate and pick. It has a short shelf life, making it unpopular with the supermarkets as a fresh fruit.
The cultivated blueberry has a high water content, so there’s not much room for nutrients or sugar. That leaves the calorie content of blueberries on the low side for a fruit, but its contribution to your Vitamin C levels isn’t huge. However, blueberries are one of the few natural sources of Vitamin K and they’ll throw in a shot of manganese – you know you want it.
What blueberries do have room for is a relatively high dose of anti-oxidants. This is why NHS choices recommends them. The fruit was one of the first to be declared a “superfruit” – but NHS Choices has reviewed the medical evidence and has concluded there is little evidence the little blueberries have the magic powers they were reputed to have.
It doesn’t matter too much though. They can certainly liven up a pancake. Enjoy their day!