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"When I am in trouble, eating is the only thing that consoles me. Indeed, when I am in really great trouble, as any one who knows me intimately will tell you, I refuse everything except food and drink. At the present moment I am eating muffins because I am unhappy. Besides, I am particularly fond of muffins."
~The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde, 1895
Console yourself today with an English or American-style muffin! And for an American classic, why not blueberry? The striking purplish blue of the native blueberry, created by phytochemicals known as anthocyanins, are responsible for the colour and resultant naming in many languages, directly translating to "blue berry" (such as the Scots blaeberry and Norwegian blåbær), possibly because apart from blueberries, bluefish and blue corn, the color blue is rare amongst edible plants and animals. Ripe blueberries have light green flesh, while their berry cousins, bilberries, whortleberries and huckleberries are red or purple throughout. Native Americans referred to blueberries as “star berries” because of the star-shaped blossoms and made a beef jerky called Sautahig similar to pemmican, but substituting the cranberries with dried blueberries. Blueberry muffin recipes became popular after the introduction of muffins in the 18th century in England as a teatime snack. in the UK, muffins retained their original form - a type of yeast-leavened bread, cooked on a griddle and flipped, resulting in the flattened shape. In the United States, however, muffins evolved to a form a texture similar to cupcakes, with both sweet and savoury flavours. Muffins are now so loved by the general populace that in addition to a designated tartan, many of the United States even have their own official muffin! Minnesota stakes claim to blueberry as their official state muffin in a nod to the native wild blueberries, which growing in bogs, on hillsides, and in cut-over forested areas in the northeast. Pass the butter! 🫐
“You ought to have seen what I saw on my way
To the village, through Mortenson’s pasture to-day:
Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum ..."
~Robert Frost, "Blueberries"
A particularly loved American style muffin, the blueberry muffin is even the official state muffin of Minnesota!
The names of blueberries in languages other than English often translate as "blueberry", e.g., Scots blaeberry and Norwegian blåbær. Blaeberry, blåbær and French myrtilles usually refer to the European native bilberry (V. myrtillus), while bleuets refers to the North American blueberry. Native Americans once called blueberries “starberries” because the blossoms make a star shape. Similar to pemmican, A beef jerky called Sautauthig, was made with dried blueberries and meat and was consumed year round.
In the winter of 1620, the Pilgrims established a settlement at Plimoth (Plymouth). Many perished during the first few months, but those that survived went on to build homes and establish farms. From the Wampanoag Indians , they learned how to gather blueberries, dry them under the summer's sun and store them for the winter.
This tartan, designed by Carol A.L. Martin, has extra blueberries for the blueberry muffin aficionado.
For the complete text of Robert Frost's 1915 poem, "Blueberries," click the muffins!