Wild Blueberries Complete a Colorful Table
5 Super Sides for the Fall Season
Wild blueberries have surged in popularity in dishes, sauces, and sides and as substitutes for traditional ingredients in classic recipes. Intense nutrition? Sure – but they also have an exceptional taste that pairs with proteins and shines in sweets.
When plating that’s pleasing to the eye is a central concern, wild blues provide a pop of color. Of course, wild blueberries are a seasonless go-to ingredient in pies, but fall gatherings are a perfect time to think outside the crust. If your goal is nutrition, flavor, and appearance in equal measure, side dishes that feature wild blueberries can turn a hum-drum nosh into a spectacular repast.
As part of your quest for wildly delicious sides, remember that frozen suits almost every recipe just as well as fresh – the substitution is one to one. Keep frozen wild blueberries frozen for cooking – no need to thaw – and make sure your blues are wild for maximum flavor, nutrition, and fruit-to-bite ratio (thanks to their smaller size). You can also substitute wild blueberries for cranberries in many holiday recipes, or swap half the cranberries for wild blueberries for a sweet and tart combination.
Ready for a fabulous feast? Here are five wild blueberry sides that will put your table on trend. (Careful, they might steal the show.)
1. Blueberry-Cranberry Sauce: A Neo-Classic
While wild blueberries outperform them when it comes to measuring both antioxidant capacity and cellular antioxidant activity, cranberries pack their own health punch. Together, these two vibrant berries score big in taste and nutrition. The zing of cranberry complemented by the unique sweet-savory flavor of wild blues is the perfect twist on an essential holiday side dish.
This Cranberry Sauce recipe readily suggests blueberry and pecan additions to the classic compote. The Examiner has a cran-blueberry take on this beloved side, and Allrecipes.com offers up a ramekin-ready take on Blue Cranberry Sauce.
2. Stuffing with Wild Blueberries: Sweet Surprise
Stuffing that includes wild blues? You bet. A touch-of-tart filling for a succulent bird provides a pop of color and the element of surprise. It’s on every foodie’s fall table this season. Consider what berries and currants do for a savory stuffing, and you’ll know why wild blueberries will work wonders in your own classic recipe – use 1 cup to 1 pound as a fruit-to-bread guideline.
If cornbread stuffing is a favorite, this Blueberry Cornbread Stuffing, originally from our own WildBlueberries.com, is a festive twist on the traditional. Cookingnook.com recommends fruit (wild blues, for example) to take this Best Turkey Stuffing to the next level, and Martha Stewart’s stuffing recipes, like Cornbread & Pumpkin Challah Stuffing and Bread Stuffing with Sage, encourage embellishments such as dried blueberries.
3. Wild Blueberry Stuffed Squash: A Visual Feast
This new table tradition is trending. Why? Because squash and sweet blues make a superb pair, and a halved acorn or butternut filled to the brim with berries is stunning to serve to guests. Acorn Squash Stuffed with Blueberries from Epicurious.com is right on the nose – you’ll find many recipes that riff off of this foundation. Others use rice or quinoa to stuff, and encourage berry additions.
4. Wild Blueberry (Turkey) Sauce: The Perfect Profile
It’s as if wild blueberries were made to pair with turkey. Entrees like turkey, chicken, duck and lamb achieve a sweet flavor balance with wild blues. Unlike the stand-alone sauce above, these sauces are meant for pouring, drizzling, and highlighting the main attraction, and their variations harmonize exquisitely.
Lay claim to this Wild Blueberry Grape Sauce, for instance, if you are looking for a colorful drizzle to liven up your platter. EatingWell.com uses thyme to complete the flavor profile on this Turkey with Blueberry Pan Sauce, and Wild Blueberry Chutney does similar work as a festive topping, be it breast, leg, or wing (or turkey sandwiches).
5. Wild Blueberry Bread: Beat the Beige
Bread completes any homemade meal, and with a scattering of sweet blue berries, it can do double duty by beating a holiday meal’s beige blues. With so many options, it would be a shame to miss the opportunity for some wild baking this season.
Raise the roof with this Quinoa Blueberry, Cheddar, & Caraway Rye Cornbread from Yummly, try Paula Deen’s Sweet Blueberry Cornbread, or this Blueberry Zucchini Bread, either for meals or morning afters. Taste of Home keeps the flavor refreshing with Blueberry Orange Bread, or take a left turn and go for Blueberry Bread Pudding from Food & Wine. Enjoy!
Want More Blue? Learn Why Wild Blueberries Should be Part of Your Thanksgiving, and get your 10 Most Popular Questions About Cooking with Frozen Wild Blueberries answered at FAQ Blue.