It is said that the blueberry muffin was created by early Europeans after their arrival to North America. They were already using a berry called the bilberry in their baked goods, however bilberries were not available and instead they found wild blueberries. Native Americans already were using blueberries in their cooking, so the Europeans began using blueberries in their baking as well, including muffins.
Blueberry vs. Bilberry
Bilberries are distinct from blueberries but closely related to them. In several other European languages its name translates as “blueberry” or “wild blueberry”, and this may cause confusion with the related plants more usually known as “blueberry” in American English. Bilberry a wild relative of cultivated blueberry is receiving massive interest in food industry due to potential health promoting properties. Regarding other berry fruits, bilberry is overall one of the best sources of health beneficial phenolic compounds. The blue pulp of the wild bilberry is full of the pigment anthocyanin, while the highbush blueberry has a light-coloured pulp.
Making Blueberry Muffins
Blueberry muffins are best made with dried blueberries, as fresh or frozen turn mushy or leak too much blue color, making muffins green! However, I also like to use this day to go and pick fresh blueberries from a local farm. There’s nothing better than a fresh picked blueberry! If you want to dry the berries, here’s an easy way to do it:
- Rinse blueberries and let air dry (or pat dry with a paper towel.)
- Spread blueberries on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
- Bake blueberries in oven for 3 hours at 225 degrees.
- Remove and cool berries before placing in an airtight container.
- These can be used in muffins, homemade granola, cereal, pancakes, trail mix, and more!