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Native blueberries almost a perfect food

July brings us National Blueberry Month to honor a native North American fruit. For centuries these berries were gathered from the forests and bogs by Native Americans. They were an important part of their diet, consuming and preserving them for later use.

There was much folklore around blueberries. The blossom end of each berry forms the shape of a perfect five-pointed star. The tribe elders would tell the story of how the Great Spirit sent “star berries” to relieve the children’s hunger during a famine.

In the winter of 1620, our forefathers established a settlement in Plimoth (now Plymouth). Those who survived the first winter were taught, by their neighbors the Wampanoag Indians, skills that helped them to continue surviving. Among the many skills taught were how to gather blueberries, dry them in the summer sun and store them for the winter.

Blueberries became an important food source, preserved and later canned. During the Civil War an important staple for the soldiers ...

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