This is a sponsored campaign in collaboration with US Highbush Blueberry Council. The opinions and text are all mine. #LittleChanges
Last month was invited by the US Highbush Blueberry Council to attend a blueberry boot camp in Napa to learn about blueberries nutrition and use. The agenda included kitchen experiences, tasting and also a blueberry recipe competition where school food service professionals from different areas within the United States and that are in charge of the schools menus prepared creative recipes with blueberries that were judged by local children from California.
The big AHA started with our arrival to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, a dream come true for me.
Never thought one day I would be honored to cook in such a prestigious school alongside Chef Lars, chef instructor who embraced us all with his kind ways and food knowledge.
He even invited me to share one of my recipes and decided my blueberry mint agua fresca was a must have in the menu the children were to judge.
This visit was so inspirational, I met so many wonderful people and food enthusiasts that love their craft and make the difference every day trying new menus and formulas to keep their diners happy.
I personally had the chance to help one of the professional chefs to cook a special blueberry sauce for a delicious cornbread he prepared. I felt so special as he praised my good taste.
As part of the bootcamp I also learned that the blueberries are celebrating 100 years when they first appear on our table. In the early 20th century, nobody thought blueberries could be domesticated as mostly they were found wild, but Elizabeth White, the daughter of a New Jersey farmer, was determined to grow a flourishing industry for cultivated blueberries. In 1911, she partnered with USDA botanist Frederick Coville to identify wild plants with the most desirable properties, they crossbred the bushes and created vibrant blueberry varieties which were first sold commercially in 1916, almost a hundred years ago.
Nowadays, blueberries can be found frozen, canned or fresh and are available year round. The domestic blueberry season runs from April to late September, and once that wraps up the shipments from Argentina and Chile start coming up so that we can enjoy them here at home.
Blueberries are sold also dried and are perfect for cooking sauces and savory dishes like the delicious breakfast sausage Chef Lars prepared for us during the blueberry bootcamp and also for baking. It is incredible the versatility of the blueberries since you can use for creating so many different dishes not only to enjoy with your breakfast or with yogurt and smoothies.
In addition, blueberries have many nutritional properties, packed with vitamin C, dietary fiber and an excellent source of manganese. After this boot camp the view and immense possibilities that blueberries offer have sparked my creativity in the kitchen, where I have been testing few recipes that very soon will be published on this site for you to get inspired too.
I invite you to visit LittleBlueDynamos.com to learn more about this powerful fruit and get inspired to cook making little changes and adding some blue to your diet.