Blueberries, Bursting with Flavor

Blueberries, Bursting with Flavor

Is there anymore more alluring than a midnight blue, plump, juicy, blueberry? Not only are they full of healthful antioxidants and minerals, but blueberries are also very versatile in the kitchen. Of course, using them in pies, cakes, and throwing handfuls into salads is classic, but blueberries are lovely in unexpected dishes too. They pair well with animal protein of all kinds. Simply toss a handful of blueberries into your pan of chicken thighs, skirt steak, or shrimp, and allow them to cook to the point of literally exploding.

Dried and fresh chilies are also natural friends with blueberries. I particularly love fresh habanero and blueberry chutney, and blueberries are gorgeous cooked down into ancho chili mole sauce. Blueberries and fresh herbs like mint, dill, tarragon, and basil can’t be beat. And this time of year, these combos can be fresh, vibrant reminders of warm summer months to come.

Try infusing blueberries, fresh mint and sage, and a drop of honey together with boiling water. A shot of whisky and some honey wouldn’t hurt either. The result is a wintertime tea that will cure anything that ails you! Salad dressing is a natural vehicle for blueberries, their color and inherent sweetness complimenting the acidity and salt of your favorite dressing base.

Brighten up a spinach salad by serving it with a “blueberry pie” salad dressing with plenty of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, granny mustard, and pureed blueberries. And speaking of pie, dessert and breakfast cannot be forgotten. Whether served whole on top of pancakes or as a garnish for tarts, pies, or crème brulee, or melted into a coulis to top ice cream or waffles, fresh blueberries will signal to your diners that spring is here to stay.

Blueberry, habanero, whisky sauce for just about anything

This is the kind of sauce you can make on a Monday and feature throughout your week. It’s perfect on top of grilled salmon, seared lamb chops, or roasted veggies. You can also use it as a base for salad dressing! Just up the amount of vinegar and you are good to go!

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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 shallots, minced

  • 1 habanero chili, de-seeded and minced

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries

  • ¼ cup cider vinegar

  • 2 tbs whisky

  • 1 tsp brown sugar

  • ½ tsp fresh thyme

  • salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook shallots, garlic, and habanero for 5 minutes, or until they are soft.

Add blueberries, vinegar, whisky, sugar, thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper to saucepan; cook for 5 minutes or until thickened. Taste the sauce and check for seasonings. Adjust if necessary.

Serve over grilled meat, fish, or veggies!

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