With autumn comes dishes with spicy cinnamon and warm nutmeg flavors, sturdy winter squashes sweetly cooked down, and hearty soups. I’m blissfully thinking of summer blueberries. It’s an unusual craving at this time of year, but blueberries’ tart and sweet flavor are available year-round in different forms other than fresh.
A long time ago, fresh berries were only available in supermarkets when they were in season. Today, they’re sold year round. However, purchasing blueberries when they’re off-season can be exorbitantly expensive. I recently spotted a speciality food store selling an organic eight ounces of blueberries flown from Australia for $8. At this time of year, the best deal for off-season blueberries is when they’re brought frozen (hint: I used frozen blueberries in the Blueberry-Thyme Sauce in the recipe at Parade.com).
Although, most people are grabbing cranberries at this time of year — especially for granolas and stuffings — infused-dried blueberries are juicy alternatives. Then, there are freeze-dried blueberries with a crunchy and airy bite. These can be pulverized in a food processor or blender to create a powder to add to smoothies, cake batters or spice mixes, such as the blueberry-coffee rub spice in the chicken thigh recipe at Parade.com.
The juice from pressed fresh blueberries can be used in a favorite drink, such as margaritas, mojitos or a post-workout smoothie. Whisk the juice in a vinaigrette to drizzle over many of autumn’s apple and kale salads. And, blueberry puree is a surprise ingredient to an apple or pear crumble.
Summer is long gone, but its presence remains in the availability of blueberries. And, they’re not only a juicy substitution to cranberries, but it’s a bright addition to many autumn dishes.