Blueberries, nature’s mini super food, are rich in antioxidants and can benefit your heart, brain and blood sugar levels. So what better idea than to create a recipe contest that requires participants to use an entire cup of fresh North Carolina blueberries.

Since the start of the N.C. Blueberry Festival in 2004, there has been a blueberry recipe contest and a group of dedicated followers, volunteers and participants.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in cancellation of this year’s festival and the recipe contest.

I’ve been lucky enough to be the chairman for the contest since 2011, and through the years, I’ve seen a lot of creative and tasty recipes. And I’ve seen the contest grow into what it has become today.

Last year, 97 recipes were entered into the contest with more than $1,000 in prize money up for grabs in the combined categories: appetizers, salads, entrees, side dishes; breads; desserts; miscellaneous (jellies, jams, nonalcoholic beverages, sauces, pancakes, etc.); and youth (ages 9-15).

Even though the contest won’t happen this year, it’s a great time of year to use blueberries in your own cooking. Here are some of the past winning recipes.

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