Blueberry boot camp may lead to new cafeteria choices

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Future HISD students could be seeing more dishes incorporating blueberries in their school cafeteria menus, after HISD Nutrition Services Dietitian Kasandra Davis attended a summer blueberry boot camp in Napa Valley, California.

The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council held the conference at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone campus July 18–20, and only 16 school districts were invited to participate.

While there, Davis learned ways to add blueberries to every meal and spent time in the kitchen using fresh, frozen, dried, powdered, and pureed blueberries to create ketchups, sauces, ice cream, and other delicacies.

Those new skills were then put to the test in an “Iron Chef”-style competition, which was judged by local schoolchildren. Davis and her teammate presented the Blue Dynamo Melt — a variation on a patty melt using blueberry-turkey meatloaf and provolone on Texas toast — as their main entrée, and came in a respectable second place.

“Most of us think of blueberries at breakfast,” explained Davis, “and we’ve tended to use the ones we receive in muffins. But this experience gave us ideas on how to do different things. Most of the dishes we created were more for lunch, and that’s something I could definitely see us doing in HISD.”