Mild tasting blueberries go with almost everything, from your morning oatmeal to a savory pork chop to sweet cheesecake and blueberry ice cream. Packed with healthful phytochemicals, vitamin C and manganese, blueberries are an excellent way to increase the nutritional punch in your diet. What's more, without adding very many calories, the fruit contains lots of fiber which helps lower cholesterol and keep your digestive system in good shape. Fresh, dried or frozen berries all have the same healthy benefits.
Complements in Baked Goods
Blueberry pies, crisps and cobblers benefit from a bit of lemon or lime zest to add zing to the flavor of the dish. When adding blueberries to pancakes, muffins, quick breads or waffles, Chef Jerry Traunfeld of The Herbfarm in Woodinville Washington recommends adding cinnamon to intensify the natural flavor of the berries. You lose some of the vitamin C when you cook the berries, but the fruit still contains its healthy phytochemicals and fiber.
Freshness in Grains and Cereals
You can't go wrong by adding a handful of fresh or dried blueberries to a bowl of cereal. The sour-sweet tang of the berries balances sugary cereals and adds flavor to mild cereals like oatmeal. Surprisingly, blueberries also complement savory grain dishes. Experiment with adding blueberries to a cold rice salad or follow the lead of Chef Jimmy Bradley of The Red Cat in New York City and add gingered blueberries to risotto fritters.
Tang in Dairy Recipes
Fresh or frozen blueberries add flavor to complement mild dairy dishes like a bowlful of yogurt or a smoothie made with dairy milk, soy milk or any other non-dairy milk. And, the berries add welcome acidity to rich dairy desserts like puddings, ice cream and cheesecake. With blueberries around to fill your plate and your stomach, there's every chance that you might be able to cut calories by eating less of other fattening desserts.
Complements to Cheese
Creamy cheese dishes gain balance and flavor when you add blueberries. Add some smashed blueberries to a goat cheese crostini for an appetizer or scatter blueberries on a cheese plate. Cream cheese and ricotta cheese complement the tangy berries with their creamy textures in cheese cakes or pies. These rich treats become close to a guiltless pleasure when you add healthy blueberries.
Fresh Flavor to Meats
A blueberry salsa or cooked sauce complements the rich flavor in pork, chicken or duck main courses. The meats balance the freshness of the berries and the berries bring their health benefits to rich dishes. Season these dishes with spices and other ingredients that also work with blueberries, such as basil, cloves, ginger molasses and nutmeg. You can serve blueberry sauces at room temperature or hot from the stove.
Complements to Other Fruits
The soft, smooth texture of blueberries adds another dimension to fruit salads made with apples, blackberries, pineapple and watermelon. And while their textures are similar, the blueberry flavor and their dark color works well with peaches, nectarines, pears and strawberries. Eating a fruit salad with blueberries is one of the best things you can do for your body.
- Berkeley Wellness: Blueberries: A Low Calorie Favorite
- Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg; The Flavor Bible
Susan Lundman began writing about her love of cooking, ingredient choices, menu planning and healthy eating after working for 20 years on children's issues at a nonprofit organization. She has written about food online professionally for ten years on numerous websites, and has provided family and friends with homemade recipes and stories about culinary adventures. Lundman received her M.A. from Stanford University.