Monday, May 26, 2008

As go blueberries...

The things they pass off as blueberries in California are just rude imitations of the sweet, flavorsome orbs I've tasted elsewhere. They have no flavor, actually, strike that, they have the revolting flavor of the chemicals used to keep the bugs away from their thick rubbery skins, which allow them to sit in the supermarket for longer spells. It's true, if you don't like the taste of chemicals, you can buy organic blueberries for around $9 a box, and by box I don't mean this, I mean this.

Fact is, true wild blueberries (section Cyanococcus of the genus Vaccinium) occur only in eastern North America. Other sections in the genus, native to other parts of the world including western North America, Europe, and Asia, include other wild shrubs producing similar-looking edible berries such as huckleberries, bilberries and cowberries. These are sometimes colloquially called blueberries and sold as such.

If it looks like a blueberry and Whole Foods puts them in a nice display that says blueberries, then mmmm... must be blueberries! I could launch into a diatribe here likening this economics-based switcheroo and willful leaching of the blueberry's essence from its visual packaging to something I see going on in our own species... But I'll let you bridge that gap yourself. Or just read on...


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