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Grilled Fruit 10 - Blueberries (Yes!)

Updated on October 24, 2020
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Lee has a degree in philosophy, but when cooking, Lee is more like an experimental scientist than an abstract thinker. Loves new ideas.

Improbable, Novel, Delicious

Blueberries are great on the grill, though few people know this.

Blueberries will make you young, and everybody seems to know that.

Well, it's not quite true that they will make you young. But they do have astounding health benefits. Take blood pressure. Blueberries increase production of vascular nitric oxide that influences blood pressure regulation, something they also do by altering glycosaminoglycans in your vascular cells. They appear also to lower cholesterol. Even memory and learning in older adults are enhanced, while at the same time reducing blood sugar.

Pretty terrific, right? Something this good for you cannot taste delicious, right? Wrong! These are one of the most delicious of all fruits -- and grilling makes them taste even better

Two types

There are two types of blueberries. Unless you live in certain parts of New England or the upper Great Lakes, including adjacent Canada, you are unlikely to know any type other that what is called the "high bush blueberry." These are delicious and what we are grilling here.

Here they are, washed and placed in a grilling basket. Obviously we need a basket with a fine enough mesh that it will prevent the blueberries from leaving he basket with the aid of gravity.

The other type of blueberry, which some people think even more delicious, is the "low bush blueberry." These are also sometimes called wild blueberries. Nova Scotia and Quebec are great producers of low bush blueberries -- praise be to them.

It doesn't take long

Two or three minutes, max. Be sure and shake them up periodically. (This is another advantage of having them in the grilling basket).

Note the change in color. Compare this picture with the one above. The color darkens, becomes richer.

Do not leave them on the grill too long or they will become mushy. They would still be great poured over vanilla ice cream. But mushy is not what we are looking for here.

We grilled an apricot

We grilled an apricot at the same time. An apricot is a wonderful companion to blueberries at any time, but especially when both are grilled.

The colors seem perfect for each other, do they not?

In addition to pairing them with apricots, another thing we can do with grilled blueberries -- particularly if they are a little mushy -- is spread them on toast in the morning. They are particularly good with sourdough toast.

Here is an individual dessert

Half a grilled apricot resting on a bed of grilled blueberries.

Your family or guests will be impressed, maybe even stunned. That won't prevent them from digging in, however.

You could gild the lily here, if you really wanted to -- add whipped cream, ice cream or sorbet. That would be delicious also, but there is a certain perfection in just the fruits themselves.

Another option

Combine the grilled blueberries with the other delicious items shown here and produce an interesting, magnificent salad for lunch

Grilled cucumber, grilled onions, a tiny piece of grilled tomato, and some Asiago cheese.

Dribble on a bit of EVOO, The olive oil really adds a grace note. {Here's EVOO.)

That's all -- terrific lunch, like you've never had before.


Blueberries are great on the grill. You know it now. Try it now, and let us know.

A bigger picture

Parting facts

Blueberries are closely related to cranberries and bilberries, but of course taste very different. They are also related to something called a grouseberry. Try asking for those at your local supermarket! Grouseberries are also known as grouse whortleberries, so maybe that would help.

Blueberries, even setting aside its close relatives, are highly diverse. I count at least 19 recognized species, varying from Alaskan blueberry to Costa Rican blueberry. Bet you did not know about the Costa Rican one -- nor did I.

There are so many variations here, but the ones that most of us will encounter are the "highbush" blueberry and the "lowbush" blueberry. Actually, most of us will only encounter the highbush blueberry, as that is the main one in cultivation. Lowbush blueberries are a specialty of places like Maine and coastal Canada, though some extend inland to Michigan and Quebec and Ontario. Lowbush are often marketed as "wild," and this is mainly true -- the fields they dominate are not planted, but are naturally occurring, though these days they are burned every couple of years to refresh them. There's also insect control.

It is not surprising to find Michigan at the top of the US Department of Agriculture's list of states which produce cultivated blueberries. But it is definitely surprising to find Georgia in second place. This rise has occurred over the past ten years, and is partly due to the longer growing-harvesting season in Georgia. Half of the fruit Canada grows consists of blueberries, British Columbia dominating highbush production and Atlantic coastal Canada dominating lowbush production Much of Canada's crop is exported to the US.

In terms of total production, however, Maine leads, and in fact produces a full 25% of the country's total. A piece of (lowbush) blueberry pie consumed on the Maine coast in summer is one of the culinary highpoints in the world.

Nutritional claims are made for blueberries, but these are diminished somewhat (for some people) by the need for growers to utilize pesticides even in the "wild" monocultures which blueberries acreages are. The main thing about blueberries for most people, though, is the delicious taste.

Part of a series

Pictures, pictures, pictures

Series within series, actually. Food & Cooking, for example, then -- within that -- series on vegetables, fruits, seafood, meat, etc. Books, too. Ideas, too. Travel, too. Key virtues:. pictures, clear step-by-step text. Delicious -- whether foods or ideas! All of the series, and all of the items in each series, can be found at this link: Lee White's Department Store

Real meal

Real Meal. Unlike fancy food mags, where images are hyped and food itself is secondary, all pix shown here are from a real meal, prepared and eaten by me and my friends. No throwing anything away till perfection is achieved. This is the real deal --- a Real Meal.


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