Blueberry Kitchen: Contemporary Recipes from the Culinary Institute of America

Blueberries Score!

Your customers are looking at menus through blue-colored glasses! They've heard about the health benefits of blueberries, they love the flavor and they're snatching up those little blue dynamos at retail for home use.

So, when blueberries make appearances on menus in restaurants and cafeterias, it's bluephoria!

Blueberries are ready to bounce into any menu, any daypart, any price point. Whether fresh or frozen, dried, as juice or puree, blueberries simply make things better!

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And, not to brag, but blueberries do score a highly impressive nutritional report card:

Calories? Check. Only 40 calories per 1/2-cup serving.

Low fat? You bet. There's next to none.

Fiber? Yep. And that's been shown to be beneficial for heart and digestive health.1

Vitamins? Minerals? But of course. Blueberries offer vitamins C and K, as well as manganese.2

Antioxidants? Blueberries rank among the top foods in antioxidant activity. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals which are unstable molecules linked to the development of a number of diseases including cancer, heart disease and other age-related ailments.3

Consumers have read all this good news so often that they associate eating blueberries with good health. On a menu, that impact can be potent. Dishes with blueberries benefit from a "health halo," a good-for-you glow that prompts diners to choose them.

As a culinarian, you already know the appeal of blueberry muffins, pancakes and pies. But you may not have considered the potential of blueberries to boost sales on the savory side. Conduct your own test. Select an under-performing dish on your menu — perhaps a chicken salad or a pork chop — and watch what happens when you add blueberries to it. A chicken salad with toasted almonds and blueberries... a grilled pork chop with blueberry chutney... a house salad with apples and blueberries... a blueberry chutney for cheese.

Your customers have probably told you they want healthier options, but then they choose the fries over the wheatberry pilaf. Adding blueberries makes your whole-grain selections more enticing, and your health-focused patrons will thank you for that.

Featured Recipe:
Farro and Blueberry Salad builds on the growing popularity of farro, an ancient strain of Italian wheat. Watch Chef Scott Samuel demonstrate how to incorporate this healthful grain in a salad that gets an added health halo with the addition of blueberries.

  1. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Release 23 U.S. Department of Agriculture-ARS 2006.
  2. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium and Zinc. (2001) National Academy of Sciences. Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Chapter 10 Manganese.
  3. Wu X, Beecher GR, Holden JM, Haytowitz DB, Gebhardt SE, Ronald L. Lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant capacities of common foods in the United States. J Agric Food Chem. 2004;52(12):4026-4037.

Fast Fact

A single blueberry bush can produce as many as 6,000 blueberries a year and blueberry bushes can produce fruit for 30 years or more.

The Blue Plate Special