Though the word "muffin" can be traced back to 18th century Germany ("muffe" meaning, loosely, "small cake"), it's become an American breakfast basic. After the muffin crossed the Atlantic, it quickly gained recognition for its portability and versatility, since a wide variety of local fruits, veggies, nuts and spices could easily be added to the flexible recipes [source: North American Blueberry Council].
The native blueberry became a fast favorite in American muffin recipes, thanks to its sweetness, wide availability (it often could be found dried and preserved, even out of season), and the cheerful, unique violet color spread throughout each morsel. When scientists began to study nutrition and discovered the anti-aging powers of antioxidants, the indulgence became easier to justify -- blending low-calorie, notably nutrient-rich blueberries into each muffin diminishes the fluffy treat's guilt factor.
Blueberries' healthy hype is for real, even if the muffins have a lot to answer for. That might be why, according to the North American Blueberry Council, blueberry is the most popular muffin flavor in the country. Whether you're looking to offset your muffin's heft or simply enjoying one of America's favorite homegrown crops, blueberries let America pretend that even the most sugary, butter-laden breakfast can be vindicated by a generous handful of fruit.