Blueberry Grunt – a Maritime dessert

Blueberry GruntThis easy and basic dessert is called a grunt because the blueberries make a grunt-like sound while boiling under the dumplings. The grunt was an early adaptation of an English steamed pudding. The New England colonists had limited cooking equipment and a dumpling-like pudding using local fruit was cooked on the stove top.  Wild blueberries are the key to a delicious grunt!  If you can find fresh the better but frozen wild blueberries will work just as well.  I was quite excited to see wild frozen blueberries at Whole Foods Market.

Canada is the world’s largest producer of lowbush blueberries – another name for wild blueberries. Most are grown commercially in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. They are native to Eastern North America and grow best on treeless land or on land that has been burned over.  This recipe brings back many memories of my mom making this even in the hot summer months.  There’s something special about a house filled with aromas from the kitchen…

Serves 4 to 6
4 cups fresh wild blueberries
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup water

2 cups flour, sifted
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons butter

In a large saucepan heat berries, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, lemon juice and water.  Boil gently until well blended and slightly cooked down. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in butter and add enough milk to make a soft biscuit dough. Drop by spoonfuls into hot berry sauce. Cover tightly with a lid and gently boil for 15 minutes – DO NOT remove the lid while cooking otherwise the dumplings won’t rise and you’ll be stuck with a gloopy mess. The dumplings should be puffed and well cooked through. Transfer cooked dumplings to serving dish. Spoon blueberry sauce over top and serve with whipped cream.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:   This is best consumed the day it is made.  Enjoy!


  1. movita beaucoup on July 6, 2013 at 06:24

    We’ve been eating this forever – we’re Maritimers! Your recipe is very similar to the one I’ve been using for years. (Can’t wait for blueberries to come into season here!)

    My brother and I would argue that the grunt-like sounds come from the person CONSUMING the dessert, not the dessert itself – it’s that good! (We also like to watch it turn teeth and tongues blue…)

  2. the culinary chase on July 6, 2013 at 11:04

    Thanks Movita! I think Maritimers all share similar stories/recipes but one thing we all agree upon and that is how delicious it is. Thanks for stopping by. Cheers!

  3. […] at The Culinary Chase from Dartmouth, NS celebrates the Blueberry Grunt as a traditional Maritime dessert during […]

  4. A Canadian Foodie on July 16, 2013 at 14:33

    Love the history, too – and cannot wait to try this myself!

  5. Meaghan on August 8, 2013 at 17:06

    We are having Theo’s boss’s over for a Maritimer Feast, this will be dessert! xo

    • the culinary chase on August 9, 2013 at 08:13

      Yay, show him how East Coast gals cook! 🙂

  6. cakespy on September 9, 2016 at 08:36

    Love it! I Just included this on my links roundup for the day. I know it’s a recipe from a while back, but awesome!

    • The Culinary Chase on September 22, 2016 at 16:51

      Thank you and yes, an oldie, but goodie recipe. 🙂