Period The Civil War Made the Wild Maine Blueberry Go National

NH Civil War Gal

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 5, 2017
I just learned this from the New England Historical Society, Summer 2020. I didn't realize there was a Southern market for sardines. We learn something new everyday here on CWT.

Henry David Thoreau wrote in 1862, "We do not realize how rich our country is in berries."

"Wild blueberries are unique to eastern Maine with its rocky acidic soil and cold climate. Wild blueberry fields earned the name "barrens" because they grew "nothing other than blueberries, sweet fern, scrub birch, and willows."

The wild blueberry is smaller and sweeter than its cousin, the high-bush blueberry. Mainers have no truck with high-bush blueberries, viewing them as "just wrong."

New Englanders ate wild blueberries and sold them commercially, but few knew of them outside the region. Then came the Civil War. Sardine canneries lost their Southern markets, so they switched to selling canned blueberries to Union troops. The soldiers developed a taste for the sweet wild berry and took it home with them after the war.

In 1874, Jasper Wyman started a seafood canning company in Milbridge, Maine. Twenty-five years later, he shifted to canning wild blueberries. For the next hundred years, the Wyman family bought thousands of acres of fields and blueberry barrens. The family now has 10,000 acres of blueberry barrens and freezes instead of canning blueberries. Wyman's today is one of six companies that process and freeze wild Maine blueberries."
 

Mrs. V

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 5, 2017
I love blueberries! I have had some that grew in the wild. They were a bit tart, but probably not nommed at peak harvest time..a lucky find on a walking trial..My son and I nommed some wild black raspberries the last time we ventured forth in Costume. You need to be careful picking them, as when they are ripe, they’ll drop right out of your hand if you are not careful. They were really tasty!
 

Booklady

Corporal
Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Location
New England
I had my fresh blueberries this morning with yogurt and homemade oatmeal muffin. I have not picked wild Maine blueberries, but the NH ones I've eaten from wild bushes along Lake Ossipee (picked and eaten while standing in the water, lol) and picked from a commercial farm near Tilton were scrumptious. Blueberries are arguably the BEST food of all. Thanks for posting the CW connection!
 

donna

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
May 12, 2010
Location
Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
My family's Blueberry Jam. This was always a favorite.

4 1/2 cups berries
1 bottle fruit pectin
7 cups sugar
1 lemon

Wash fruit. Crush and then add lemon juice. Add grated rind of 1/2 lemon. Add sugar and mix thoroughly. Heat rapidly to full rolling boil. Stir constantly before and while boiling. Boil hard 3 minutes. Remove from fire and stir in fruit pectin. Skim.
 

Jantzen64

Private
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
My family's Blueberry Jam. This was always a favorite.

4 1/2 cups berries
1 bottle fruit pectin
7 cups sugar
1 lemon

Wash fruit. Crush and then add lemon juice. Add grated rind of 1/2 lemon. Add sugar and mix thoroughly. Heat rapidly to full rolling boil. Stir constantly before and while boiling. Boil hard 3 minutes. Remove from fire and stir in fruit pectin. Skim.
Thank you, Donna! I'll have to try this one out.
 

donna

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
May 12, 2010
Location
Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
Another recipe for Blueberry Jam. This is another one from Kentucky cook.

2 2/3 cups blueberries
1 box fruit pectin
3 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crush berries in pan. Add pectin and stir over high heat and bring to boil. Add sugar, butter and vanilla. Bring back to boil. Boil 2 to 3 minutes/ Pour into half pint jars. Secure lids and rings and place in pot of boiling water. Boil 10 minutes. Remove from bath. Do not disturb jars for 12 to 24 hours.
 
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