Blueberry Know How + How To Cook Them with Chef Stephan Drolet

It’s blueberry season again and you just can’t beat fresh blueberries. These deliciously sweet, tiny fruits pack a big punch in flavour and health benefits. Being one of the world’s few, truly blue foods (from the antioxidant-rich pigment called anthocyanin), blueberries are regarded as nature’s super food.

Blueberries plants are lovely looking, low-growing shrubs. The branches fan out with delicate sprays of tiny, urn-shaped flowers. These flowers, translucent to begin with, develop into clusters of marble-sized berries. The berries are sweet and juicy and range from blue to black in colour with a whitish flesh.

Of the few fruits native to North America, blueberries still grow wild in many regions of the country, including a large area of the Pacific Northwest. Common (low bush) varieties include the Bog blueberry, Oval-leaf, Alaska, and Dwarf species.

Blueberries (Holly's)

British Columbia is blessed with an optimal climate for growing commercial (high bush) blueberries. Situated between the Pacific west coast and the coastal mountains, the main blueberry industry here produces an average of 120 million pounds annually. Fresh blueberries are available during the summer months until early October, with frozen BC blueberries available year round.

There are numerous ways to eat and preserve blueberries—from fresh to dried, from frozen to preserved as jam. The best way to enjoy them, however, is fresh by the handful, for breakfast with yogurt, or in desserts and baking. The naturally occurring tannins in blueberries also make them an ideal pairing with savoury meats— think rich, flavourful meats like pork tenderloin, venison, and duck.

While it’s not difficult to imagine and create a desert using blueberries, it can be tricky knowing how to use them in an entrée.

When in doubt, ask an expert. We spoke with Executive Chef, Stephan Drolet at Camille’s Restaurant and it just so happens he is currently featuring an entrée showcasing fresh blueberries—Pan Seared Duck Breast with Glazed, Dried, and Pureed Blueberries. This dish hits all the right points in texture and flavour. The blueberries are from Saanich Organics. Their sweet and tart jamminess is contrasted by the richness of the duck, delicate peppery nasturtium leaves, and the sweet, creaminess of organic roasted red and gold beets.

For a textural component, Drolet has created a crispy duck skin crackling with house-dried blueberries.

The Brome Lake duck is pan seared skin side down and then plated on a mildly spiced sauce made from a puree of blueberries, agave syrup, and cayenne, for just the right amount of heat.

Drolet brightens up the dish with the addition of house made pickled ramps and green walnuts from Alm Farms. The walnuts have been pickled to cut the bitterness and astringency due to their immaturity.

To make a blueberry glaze, Drolet heats up fireweed honey with white balsamic vinegar, then pours it over the berries and sets them aside to cool.

It’s an entrée perfectly suited for summertime, says Drolet. It features classic, local West Coast flavours and pays homage to a one of nature’s true blue foods, the blueberry.

Blueberry Balsamic Sauce


4 green onions, thinly sliced

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter

250 ml (1 cup) duck stock or consommé

80 ml (1/3 cup) blueberry jam (or spread)

45 ml (3 tbsp) aged balsamic vinegar

45 ml (3 tbsp) Port wine

10 ml (2 tsp) Dijon mustard

Sea salt and black pepper

Fresh blueberries (optional)



  1. In a small saucepan, sauté the onions in butter 2 minutes.
  2. Add remaining ingredients except blueberries. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium.
  3. Simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat and add a handful of fresh blueberries to the sauce.
  4. Generously drizzle each plate with balsamic blueberry sauce, and then top with pan seared duck breast, or your preferred protein.


Recipe from Canards Brome Lake Ducks

Written By:

Holly Brooke is a true B.C. gal. Having lived on the west coast most of her life, except for several years in the Kootenay's where she canoed and fished and lived in a tipi, she's very much at home outdoors and in the kitchen. ...

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