One doesn’t usually think of blueberries as a Mexican fruit. But in recent years Mexico has become one of the world’s foremost blueberry producers, rising steadily through the ranks and sitting comfortably in the top five.
The states of Jalisco, Michoacán, Sinaloa, Puebla, Baja California and Colima grow the most, with the majority slated for export. (Although we still get lots here during harvest time — like now.)
Blueberries — called mora azul, or technically arandano azul — are quite the trendy crop nowadays, and there’s a big profit to be made from them. Mexico and Chile (another big grower) are unique in that their climates allow for two and sometimes three crops a year.
The majority of Mexican blueberries are grown under giant poly-covers to protect the plants from too much sun and allow for careful attention to soil pH, watering and pest control.
Canadian readers may know that lowbush, or “wild” blueberries, are their country’s biggest fruit crop and that they lead the world in their production. Indeed, Oxford, Nova Scotia, is known as the Wild Blueberry Capital of Canada, and residents in some regions of Quebec are known as bleuets, or blueberries. These are a different variety than the “highbush blueberries” grown in the U.S. and Mexico.
Wherever they come from, though, we can all agree that blueberries taste great, are good for you and lend themselves to a wide variety of recipes. Pancakes, cobbler, pie, jam, muffins, cheesecake … the list of baked goods that blueberries work with goes on and on. I’ve included some unusual recipes here that use blueberries in atypical ways just to keep you on your toes.
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup blueberries
- ¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 5 cups water
First make blueberry simple syrup: combine sugar and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add blueberries and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until blueberries break down, 3-4 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh sieve; cool. In a large pitcher, whisk syrup, lemon juice and water. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice and garnish with blueberries.
Great on any kind of burger!
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- ¼ cup minced onion
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- ¼ tsp. allspice
Combine blueberries, onion, sugar, vinegar and allspice in small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring often, for 8-10 minutes or until thickened to syrupy consistency. Let cool completely.
Lettuce Wraps with Chicken, Blueberries & Almonds
- ½ cup plain Greek or regular yogurt
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
- 1 cup blueberries
- ½ cup celery, chopped
- ¼ cup scallions, chopped
- 8 lettuce leaves
- 2 Tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted
Mix yogurt, basil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add chicken, blueberries, celery and scallions; toss until evenly coated. Arrange lettuce leaves on serving platter and top with chicken mixture, dividing evenly. Garnish with almonds.
Blueberry Balsamic Glaze
Use to baste roast chicken or turkey, or as a sauce on fish like snapper or shark.
- 2 cups blueberries (divided)
- ½ cup minced dried figs
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh rosemary sprigs
In small saucepan, simmer ½ cup of blueberries, figs and vinegar over low heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half. Add maple syrup, mustard, 1 tsp. of rosemary leaves and a pinch of salt and pepper. Use to baste meat during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Garnish with rosemary springs and a few blueberries.
Blueberry, Kale & Pineapple Smoothie
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
- 1¼ cups fresh pineapple chunks
- 1½ cups fresh orange juice
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup kale
- 2 ice cubes
In a blender, mix mint, juice, blueberries, kale until smooth. Add pineapple and ice cubes and blend again.
Blueberry Lemon Coconut Scones
- 2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup refined coconut oil, solid but creamy
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 Tbsp. lemon zest
- 1 cup unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk, shaken well before measuring
- Turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and coconut oil with a food processor, pulsing until mixture is a powdery meal. Transfer to medium bowl; add blueberries and zest. Stir in coconut milk to form a soft dough. Turn onto lightly floured surface and pat into a 7-inch round. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 15 minutes. Cut chilled dough into six wedges. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and arrange on parchment-lined pan. Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 minutes.
Janet Blaser has been a writer, editor and storyteller her entire life and feels fortunate to be able to write about great food, amazing places, fascinating people and unique events. Her first book, Why We Left: An Anthology of American Women Expats, is available on Amazon. Contact Janet or read her blog at whyweleftamerica.com.