This has been a fantastic summer for blueberries. Now, it is time to figure out what to do with all of them. There are lots of jam, jelly and syrup recipes out there. What if you want to use your hard-earned, wild-harvested blueberries in healthier ways?
You fought mosquitoes for many back-breaking hours of your summer for these beautiful blues. Turns out, they make fantastic additions to an assortment of salads and are a great contrast to a variety of fruits and vegetables. We want to give you some recipes to choose from and experiment with. Of course, all of them are interchangeable with your favorite greens, fruits, nuts and dressings.
Let’s get to it.
Simple Sitka Salad
• 1 cup of fresh blueberries or thawed blueberries
• 8 cups of spinach
• 1 cup of blue cheese, or cheese of your choice
• ½ cup of pecans — chopped and toasted
To toast the pecans, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake in a shallow pan or cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes, or you can toast them in a skillet on low heat until lightly browned while stirring occasionally.
When done toasting nuts, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and enjoy with your favorite dressing. A blueberry balsamic vinaigrette pairs well with this salad. We suggest trying the recipe for this one below.
• 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
• 3/4 cup vegetable oil
• 2 tablespoons white vinegar
• 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
• 2 tablespoons of honey
Combine oil, blueberries, white vinegar, balsamic vinegar and honey together in a food processor and blend until smooth. Drizzle the dressing on the salad to taste.
• 1 cup of fresh or thawed blueberries
• 10 ounces or 1 package of romaine hearts salad mix
• 1 cup of shredded Swiss cheese
• 1 cup of unsalted cashews
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
• 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
• 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup oil
Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl, then gradually whisk in oil. Drizzle the dressing on the salad to taste.
Ketchikan Blueberry Guacamole
• 1/4 cup frozen blueberries (thawed) or fresh, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
• 1/2 cup cooked but cooled corn
• 3 large avocados, diced
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1/4 red onion, diced
• 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
• 1 lime, juiced
• 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
• 2 tablespoons chopped basil
• Salt and pepper, to taste
Mash the avocado and blueberries in a large bowl until combined to the consistency you like. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well to combine. Garnish with blueberries. Serve with your favorite chips.
Petersburg Blueberry Cucumber Salad
• 1 large diced cucumber
• 2 cups fresh or thawed blueberries
• 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions or leave out
• ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro or parsley leaves or cilantro, loosely packed
• 2 ounces of feta
Combine ingredients in a bowl and stir. Add dressing.
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon lime juice or raspberry vinegar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper
Whisk ingredients in bowl and then stir into salad.
Wrangell Blueberry Cucumber Salad
• 1 cup fresh or thawed blueberries
• 1 cup chopped cucumber
• 2 cups cubed seedless watermelon
• 1/4 cup loosely packed, thinly sliced fresh basil or mint
Combine ingredients in a bowl and stir. Add Dressing. Prepare the dressing first to infuse flavors.
• 1/3 cup cubed or crumbled feta cheese
• 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion. This can be left out.
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tsp lemon zest, or lime
• 2 tbsp lemon juice, or lime
Combine ingredients and let stand for 15 minutes before adding to salad ingredients to infuse flavors.
Hoonah Blueberry Corn Salad
• 1 cup fresh or thawed blueberries
• 6 cups of cooked sweet corn
• 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Combine ingredients in a large bowl and mix. Add dressing. Garnish with more chives.
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives, plus more for garnish
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Combine ingredients in a small bowl and whisk. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix.
Gustavus Blueberry Honey Chia Seed Jam
• 3 cups fresh or thawed blueberries
• 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
• ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
• 3 tablespoons honey
• ¼ cup chia seeds
Bring blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice and honey to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, just until blueberries begin to burst, about 5 minutes.
Use a spoon to lightly mash about half of the berries to release their juices.
Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until juices are reduced by half, 5-10 minutes.
Remove jam from heat; taste and add a bit more honey if you prefer it to be sweeter.
Return to a boil, then stir in chia seeds; cook 1 minute to soften seeds.
Let jam cool slightly, then transfer to heatproof jars or containers.
Cover and let cool completely.
Chill until ready to use. It keeps for a couple of weeks in the fridge and a couple of months in the freezer.
We hope you enjoy these recipes. We know that some lovers of blueberries don’t like blueberries in salads or with vegetables at all. So, we decided to give you the low sugar chia seed jam recipe so that you can still enjoy a healthier jam. Alaska’s blueberries are some of the most nutritious blueberries in the world. Let’s try to get the most out of them.
Some top shelf berries
The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service lists the oxygen radical absorption capacity value (ORAC) for blueberries, which shows the overall antioxidant activity. Store-bought cultivated blueberries have a high ORAC value of 24. Alaska’s blueberries beat any blueberry on the shelf.
• Blue Huckleberry 111
• Dwarf Blueberry 85
• Bog Blueberry 77
• Alaska Blueberry 76
• Wild Blueberry (Lower 48) 61
• Cultivated Blueberry 24
Turn your hard-earned wild blueberries into yummy healthy meals. Experiment with a variety of the ingredients with your blueberries. If you don’t like lemons, try lime. If you don’t like lime, try oranges. If you don’t like zesty, try raspberries or strawberries. We all have a different palate and it’s just about finding the combination that your taste buds love.
Here are some substitution ideas.
Any salad greens — romaine, green leaf, red leaf, wild greens, and more.
Any cheeses — Swiss, Gouda, parmesan, smoked cheeses, and more.
Any nuts or seeds — pecans, cashews, walnuts, almonds, sunflowers seeds, and more.
Any fruits — apples, strawberries, watermelon, and more.
(If you don’t like blueberries, try red huckleberries.)
• Vivian Mork Yéilk’ writes the Planet Alaska column with her mother, Vivian Faith Prescott. Planet Alaska publishes every other week in the Capital City Weekly.