The blueberry is a small, purplish-blue berry. It belongs to the Vaccinium family together with cranberries, among others. Its thick skin encloses very red flesh. Distinction is made between the cultivated European blueberry (bilberry) and the wild blueberry, which is smaller in size and with a tangier flavor.
Fresh blueberries are sold in small baskets. Wild or dried, they are also frozen and dried, made into juice, jelly, and jam. The fruit should give off a pleasant smell. The stem (stalk) should be green and not dry, and the fruit well formed but not puffy. Blueberries are also available frozen and dried, and made into juice, jelly, and jam.
Blueberries are a common ingredient in fruit salads, berry soups, creams, pies, scones, and muffins. They can be used to make mousse and jam. They are also used to accompany poultry, such as duck, guinea fowl, and goose, mostly in sauce.
Less fragile than other berries, fresh blueberries can be stored for several days in the refrigerator.
Cranberries, bilberries, and blueberries are packed with all kinds of antioxidant molecules (including carotenes, precursors of vitamin A), vitamin C, vitamin E, and minerals. For centuries, these berries have had a proven reputation for being beneficial for the eyes. The vitamin A found in them is necessary to renew the rods in the retina. During World War II, air force pilots consumed large amounts of blueberry or bilberry jam to improve their sight.
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