By Harold McGee
Blueberries are the small fruits of a bushy North American species of the genus Vaccinium, which ranges from the tropics to the arctic. V. angustifolium and corymbosum are weedy pioneers in burned fields, and their fruits were gathered from the wild until the 1920s, when the first selected “highbush” (corymbosum) plants were developed in New Jersey. The bilberry, V. myrtillus, is a European relative, and the rabbit-eye blueberry, V. ashei, a similar but less flavorful native of the southern United States. The huckleberry, various species of Vaccinium, has a few large hard seeds, while blueberries have many small ones.