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Blueberries Blueberries are one of the most prolific berries in Nova Scotia, and across much of Canadian, and even around the world.  The First Nation peoples of Nova Scotia have made good use of their blueberries.  They would add them to just about everything: soups and stews, meat, bread, puddings, and fish.  As medicine, they have been used as a strengthening tonic.  They also used blueberries to create dyes for colouring hides and the quills of birds and porcupines; blueberries on their own made blue pigment, mixed with nuts they created brown shades.  The extras would be dried like raisins, boiled in grease or animal fat, or stored in tins or birchbark baskets and placed in a hole in the ground to keep over the winter. There are two native varieties of blueberries in Nova Scotia: the wild low-bush berries and the cultivated high-bush berries.  The low-bush blueberries are small and a bit tart, but have a stronger, richer flavour.  These are the berries that have been growing here for centuries.  The high-bush berries are the kind that you would buy in the grocery store: large, soft, and sweet with a milder flavour.  They can be used interchangeably in most recipes, especially recipes like this one where they will be cooked down, although many local cooks are staunchly loyal to one type or the other.  Blueberries are now known in many circles, as a super fruit.  They are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the market; antioxidants help neutralize the free radicals in the body that cause cancer.  Blueberries are also high in fiber, help lower cholesterol, inhibit cell damage, preserve memory, and help fight heart disease and obesity.  Blueberry grunt is thought to have come about when British settlers tried to adapt their favourite puddings to the local produce and primitive cooking utensils that were available to them in the new world.  In Nova Scotia blueberries were found to be one of the most abundant indigenous crops on the peninsula and so it was a natural choice for this juicy berry dish.  Blueberries are even today one of Nova Scotia's top fruit crops.  The name "grunt" comes from the sound the berries make while they are being cooked down.  This dish became so well liked that it was often used as a breakfast, or even a main dish.  It wasn't until the nineteenth century that it became primarily used as a dessert, although it still makes an excellent breakfast: especially on a Sunday, or for brunch.  As a dessert, it tastes great served warm with heavy cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Blueberry Grunt Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 30 Minutes Ready Time: 45 Minutes Ingredients (Sauce) 4 cups blueberries, wild, fresh or frozen ½ tsp ground nutmeg ½ tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 cup sugar 1 tbsp lemon juice ½ cup water Ingredients (Dumpling) 2 cups all-purpose flour 4 tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt 1 tbsp sugar 2 tbsp butter ½ cup 2% milk Directions 1. In a large saucepan combine berries, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, lemon juice and water and boil gently until well blended and slightly cooked down. 2. In a mixing bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in butter and add enough milk to make a soft biscuit dough. 3. Drop by spoonfuls into hot berry sauce. 4. Cover tightly with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes. The dumplings should be puffed and cooked through. 5. Transfer cooked dumplings to serving dish. Ladle sauce over top and serve with whipped cream. Serves 8.
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