Blueberries and beyond: What makes berries so popular?
Did you know that July is National Blueberry month? In honour of one of the world’s most beloved fruits, we’ve decided to take a closer look at the different uses of berries beyond the traditional ways of eating them. Not that we’d pass up the opportunity to do that of course! Take a look at our list below. You’re bound to be familiar with some of the ways berries are used . . . but others might come as a surprise.
- Food & Desserts
This point doesn’t need much introduction. A wide variety of berries that include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and more are used in everything from ice-cream, to muffins, to sauces and garnishes. Berries vary greatly in their flavour profile, which makes them ideal additions to both sweet and savoury dishes.
Berries contain compounds, nutrients, and vitamins that support overall health such as antioxidants, Vitamin C & K, and fibre. Modern research also suggests that including berries in your diet helps manage and reduce the risk of conditions like high cholesterol. Some varieties such as the acai berries from Central and South America, or the Goji berries from China are even termed as superfoods in the health industry.
Berries are well-known for their deep reddish, blue, and purple colours. These rich colours can actually be extracted from the berries and combined with other materials to create pigments. These can then be put to a variety of uses to create anything from coloured fabrics, to watercolour paints, to natural cosmetics.
Nowadays, berries are farmed worldwide. However, the most popular varieties we eat today are native to regions in Scandinavia, Northern England, and Canada. Berry harvesting in these areas is a traditional, seasonal event for families. Jam-making (and sometimes even liquor making!) generally also forms part of the cultural identity of these communities.
- Slot Games
The popular varieties of berries – think blueberries and strawberries – usually featured as symbols in classic fruit machine slots that became increasingly popular in the 20th century. Nowadays, slot games such as Fruit Shop and Berryburst present a modern take on the fruit machine thanks to their digital visuals and feature-rich gameplay. Yet, they still use the iconic berry symbols on their reels.
So . . . the next time you enjoy a strawberry ice-cream, or indulge in a blueberry muffin, it might be worth remembering that berries are so much more versatile than their use in food and desserts. What are your thoughts on one of the world’s most popular fruits?