Healthy Blueberry Crisp with Corn
This quick & easy healthy blueberry crisp with cornmeal crumble will definitely become your new favorite year-round dessert. It can be made on a skillet using frozen berries of your choice.
Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are my favorite because they pair scrumptiously with corn and are the Queen of antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C. One cup of blueberries provides 24% of the daily recommendation of vitamin C. 1
Blueberries are also high in phytochemicals (plant chemicals). The most notable phytochemical is the anthocyanin pigment, which puts the “blue” in blueberries. Epidemiological studies associate regular to moderate blueberry consumption with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. 2 Anthocyanins also make the blood vessels more elastic helping to lower blood pressure.
And here’s an insider tip! If you want to make this an extra healthy blueberry crisp use wild blueberries, they have twice the antioxidants! 4 Most wild blueberries are harvested in fields and barrens in the state of Maine. About 80 million pounds of wild blueberries are produced annually! Blueberries are harvested the traditional way, using hand-held berry rakes or machine harvest.
Don’t Crisps have Butter and Sugar?
Another reason I call this a healthy blueberry crisp is that it has half the butter and a third of the added sugar of a traditional fruit crisp. I use a smaller amount of crisp topping to let the blueberries shine and use maple sugar and corn to provide sweetness.
Why Maple Sugar?
Another ingredient that makes this a healthy blueberry crisp is maple sugar. Maple sugar is made by boiling maple syrup until nearly all the water has been boiled away and you are left with a solid sugar. Maple Sugar is twice as sweet as regular sugar, but has (slightly) less calories per gram! That means you can use less sweetener to maintain the same level of sweetness. This recipe only calls for 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) of maple sugar, where most fruit crisps would call for at least 1 cup of granulated sugar.
Maple sugar is also abundant in minerals such as calcium, manganese, potassium and magnesium.5 It is also high in antioxidants, providing more support for this being a healthy blueberry crisp.
Maple syrup was the original natural sweetener for Native Peoples in North America. They recognized it as a source of nutrition and energy and turned it into sugar to increase its shelf life and make it easier to transport. 6
If you are a locavore and want this to be a local healthy blueberry crisp, you can freeze your own blueberries and corn. Here in New York City, blueberries are abundant from July-August and corn from July-September.
Freezing Fresh Blueberries and Corn
Once you have your fresh blueberry haul, simply rinse and store them in plastic sandwich bags in the freezer. You can also lay blueberries out on a baking sheet to freeze prior to storing them in bags, which will keep them from sticking together.
Freezing fresh corn is a bit more work, but well worth it. First, shuck the corn (peel leaves and hair off the corn) and cut the corn kernels off (away from you!) into a large bowl. Then, fill plastic sandwich bags with your delicious local corn.
Let’s Make this Healthy Blueberry Crisp!
So what is stopping you from making this healthy blueberry crisp?! You probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen and could have it in the oven in 20 minutes. If you do not have a cast iron skillet you can still make this healthy blueberry crisp. Use any oven safe dishware, such as a casserole dish, 2 loaf pans or a glass pie pan. It is even more delicious served with yogurt or ice cream
If you have leftovers, they keep well in the fridge and make a great breakfast served with oatmeal. And your future self would love you if you made a double batch of the crisp topping and froze it for an even quicker dessert next time!
How about some more healthy and delicious dessert ideas? My Vegan Pumpkin Mousse and Honey Whipped Ricotta with Espresso are both super tasty and simple to pull together. Or try one of my all-time favorites, Fruit Custard Pie made with Pears.
- Blueberries: Health benefits, facts, and research. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287710.php. Accessed December 3, 2019.
- Kalt W, Cassidy A, Howard LR, et al. Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins. Adv Nutr. doi:10.1093/advances/nmz065
- Publishing HH. Eat blueberries and strawberries three times per week. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/eat-blueberries-and-strawberries-three-times-per-week. Accessed December 2, 2019.
- Liu RH. Dietary bioactive compounds and their health implications. J Food Sci. 2013;78 Suppl 1:A18-25. doi:10.1111/1750-3841.12101
- Stuckel JG, Low NH. The chemical composition of 80 pure maple syrup samples produced in North America. Food Res Int. 1996;29(3):373-379. doi:10.1016/0963-9969(96)00000-2
- Nutritional Information – Vermont Maple Sugar Makers. https://vermontmaple.org/nutritional-information. Accessed December 2, 2019.
- 2 ½ cups fresh or frozen thawed blueberries and raspberries
- 4 tablespoons maple sugar divided
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup coarse-grind cornmeal
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter diced
- ½ cup fresh or frozen thawed corn kernels
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In an oven-safe 12-inch skillet, mix together berries, 2 tablespoons maple sugar, zest, juice, and cornstarch.
- In a bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Using your hands, add butter and mash with dry ingredients until no dry spots remain and mixture holds together if squeezed. Add corn and mix to distribute evenly. Press topping between fingers and place pieces over skillet with berries.
- Bake until golden brown and bubbling, approximately 45 minutes. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.