I spent a few days in Bar Harbor Maine last week to learn about wild blueberries. The trip was sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America. It was a great time! I caught up with some fun RD colleagues, saw some beautiful parts of Maine, and of course learned a ton about wild blueberries. I had never been to Maine before and I can’t wait to go back.
This was the view outside my door at the Bar Harbor Inn.
Gorgeous right? And the blueberry barrens were just as amazing…..fields and fields of wild blueberries as far as the eye can see.
This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. It really shows the beauty and expanse of the barrens. And what a perfect Maine day! Our visit coincided with the harvest, which begins in late July and continues through August, so it was a busy place (despite this picture). We also toured Wyman’s processing plant and were able to see the whole process – from picking to freezing. I was pleased to learn that wild blueberries are frozen fresh within 24 hours of harvest, when their flavor and antioxidants are at their peak.
Wild blueberries are not the same as the cultivated type you buy fresh in the grocery store. Unlike regular blueberries, wild blueberries are not planted. They literally grow “in the wild” and thrive in the harsh climates of northern Maine, Eastern Canada and Quebec. This ability to thrive in those harsh climates is the reason wild blueberries contain twice the antioxidants of regular blueberries. Another big difference is there isn’t just one kind of wild blueberry — there are 1,000’s of varieties growing all at the same time. You can see in the picture above the different shapes and sizes of the berries, each with their own unique blueberry flavor.
So coming back from this trip I knew I would make something using wild berries for this month’s Recipe Redux theme: Bars & Bits for Brown Bags. I wanted a strong wild blueberry flavor and I definitely got it with these delicious little bites of blueberry goodness! They are no-bake balls so you can literally whip them up in 5 minutes with your food processor. What’s different about these balls is that I used the frozen wild blueberries in the mix. So if you eat them right after you make them they’re really cold and refreshing — and if you let them thaw a bit they are melt in your mouth delicious. You pretty much can’t go wrong either way!
These wild blueberry snack balls are perfect for a lunch box or after-school snack, a grab-and-go breakfast or just a fun dessert. I rolled them in shredded coconut, but I bet cocoa powder or hemp seeds would also be delish. You could just eat them plain, too!
Here’s how I made them. Enjoy!
Raw Wild Blueberry Snack Balls
- 10 Medjool dates pitted
- 1/4 cup raw almonds
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1/3 heaping cup wild blueberries
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp almond butter
- Shredded coconut unsweetened
Process the nuts, dates, vanilla and almond butter in the food processor. Then add frozen (not thawed) wild blueberries and process again until well blended. Wet your hands a bit and roll mixture into balls. Freeze balls for an hour or so to harden, if needed. Then remove from freezer and roll in the coconut. I do this in a bowl. If you want them soft, store in an airtight container in the fridge. If you want them super cold, store in the freezer! Both are delicious.
This recipe makes about 8 balls, double as needed.