Kid-friendly Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt

Recipe: Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt

Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Teri Virbickis/
prep time
10 minutes
cook time
30 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt

Cobblers, crisps, crumbles, clafoutis, and grunts are all part of the same large, awesome family of humble, fruit-based desserts—a juicy, fruity foundation topped with something sweet. In the case of a grunt, that topping is biscuit dough. 

Interestingly, grunts are usually cooked in a covered pan on the stovetop, which basically steams them. As the berries are being steamed, they make a "grunting" sound, which is where the dish gets its funny name! However, this grunt is baked, so you'll have to listen really hard for the grunting sound!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • bake :

    to cook food with dry heat, as in an oven.

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • garnish :

    to decorate a dish or plate of food to enhance its flavor or appearance, using things like parsley, fruit slices, or edible flowers.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • mix :

    to thoroughly combine two or more ingredients until uniform in texture.

  • pour :

    to cause liquid, granules, or powder to stream from one container into another.

  • sift :

    to pass a dry ingredient like flour or sugar through a sieve to make it lighter and more even in texture.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Oven
  • Baking dish (9 x 13) or medium cast iron skillet
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Whisk
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Small mixing bowl


Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt

  • 2 C fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free flour)**
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 1 C heavy whipping cream **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub coconut cream)**
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • cooking spray or oil to grease baking dish or skillet

Food Allergen Substitutions

Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free flour for all-purpose flour in grunt.
  • Dairy: Substitute coconut cream for heavy whipping cream in Grunt.


Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt


Say "Hello!" in the language of the indigenous Mi’kmaq people of Nova Scotia: "Kwe’!" (kway). Blueberry Grunt is a traditional Nova Scotian dessert. Think of a Grunt as a Cobbler, but a little different. The main difference is the amount of moisture is higher in a grunt. This is needed to create steam while it cooks. This concoction will combine delicious biscuit-like pastry with blueberry pie filling, and as the berries are being steamed, they make a "grunting" sound, which is where the dish gets its funny name! The resulting dish is called a "grunt." Hopefully, every bite will make you let out your own excited grunt.

measure + whisk + sift

Start combining 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 pinch of salt, and 1 cup sugar in a large mixing bowl. Then, whisk the ingredients in the bowl. This will gently sift the ingredients and get all the lumps out. Pour in 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, and whisk to combine.

preheat + chop

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Chop 2 cups of blueberries until they roughly resemble a jam. Scrape all the blueberries into a small mixing bowl.

pour + bake

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish or a medium cast-iron skillet with cooking spray or add a small amount of oil to keep the grunt from sticking. Add the chopped blueberries to the baking dish or skillet. Then, pour the batter over the blueberries. Place the Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.

garnish + cool

Remove the Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt from the oven and place it on a cutting board or plate to cool. While it is cooling, garnish with a dusting of Luscious Lemon Sugar Sprinkle (see recipe). Serve with a dollop of Kid-Shaken Whipped Butter (see recipe). Enjoy!

Surprise Ingredient: Blueberries!

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Photo by Mariana Serdynska/

Hi! I’m Blueberry!

"Have you heard the saying, "as American as apple pie?" Well, with no offense to the apple—which is certainly a fine fruit—we blueberries think that classic saying should read, "as American as blueberry pie." Blueberries are one of the few fruits native to North America, and apples aren't (unless you count Pacific crabapples). And don't worry about our powdery coating. It's called epicuticular wax (but you can call it "bloom"), and it protects our skin. I guess you could say we bloom where we're planted!"


  • Blueberries are a genuinely natural blue food due to a pigment called anthocyanin. Native Americans used blueberries to make dye for textiles and baskets, and colonists made paint out of blueberries by boiling them in milk. 
  • Blueberries have impacted the culture, cuisine, and even survival of Americans for centuries. From the times of the earliest indigenous people to the present day, blueberries have been a valued food staple. They've provided enjoyment during times of abundance and have held starvation at bay during times of scarcity. 
  • In the 1860s, blueberries were gathered, packaged, and sent to Union troops during the Civil War.
  • The Shakers made the traditional blue paint used in their homes from blueberry skins, sage blossoms, indigo, and milk.
  • American poet, Robert Frost, wrote a poem called "Blueberries" that may have been inspired by his youth picking or eating blueberries.
  • Maine is the leading wild blueberry producer in the United States, and Oregon produces the most cultivated blueberries.
  • How official are blueberries? Consider these official state foods: Maine's state fruit is the wild blueberry, and their state dessert is Maine blueberry pie; Minnesota's state muffin is the blueberry muffin; New Jersey's state fruit is the Northern highbush blueberry; and North Carolinas' state berry is the blueberry.
  • July is National Blueberry Month because it is the peak of the harvest season.


  • Blueberry plants are woody shrubs. There are lowbush (or wild) and highbush (or cultivated) varieties. Canada grows the most lowbush blueberries in the world, and the United States produces about 40 percent of the highbush variety.
  • Native Americans once called blueberries "star berries" because the five points of blueberry blossoms make a star shape. 
  • Blueberry plants can be grown in a large container (at least 2 feet deep and wide) if grown in acidic soil with good drainage. Plant them in the Spring and put the container in a sunny spot. They do not produce berries in the first year. It may take about five years for a full harvest.
  • How to Pick, Buy, & Eat
  • Blueberries turn from reddish-purple to a deep blue when they are ripe. Choose berries that are blue, plump, dry, and somewhat firm. Avoid blueberries that are white or green as they are far from mature. If there are stains on the container, some of the berries may be bruised. They may have a light dusting of grayish powder (or bloom) on their skin, which is normal. 
  • Do not wash your blueberries before freezing, storing, or eating them. However, you will want to sort through the berries and remove any that are wrinkled or covered in a white fuzzy mold, so they do not spoil the rest. Refrigerate your blueberries with good air circulation and plan to eat them within a week if possible. 
  • If you stir some fresh blueberries into your muffin batter, you will have the most popular muffin flavor in the United States. They are also delicious in salads and breakfast cereal, especially oatmeal, juice, pies, jams and jellies, sauces, and syrup. Dried blueberries are also good in cereals and batters. 
  • North American indigenous people used blueberries to make "pemmican," a high-energy food consisting of dried meat, often game meat, dried berries, and tallow (rendered animal fat). They would pack it for sustenance on long journeys. European fur traders and explorers adopted it for their travels. Pemmican is still eaten today.
  • Blueberries have been valued as a highly nutritional food and for their medicinal properties and even for non-food uses such as making paints and dyes. 


  • Blueberries contain more antioxidants than most other fruits or vegetables and may help prevent damage caused by cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's. In addition, the anthocyanin present in blueberries is good for eyesight. 
  • Blueberries are a great source of many essential nutrients such as vitamin C, manganese, potassium, iron, and many others.
  • The calories in blueberries amount to only 80 per cup.
  • Blueberry juice had medicinal value for Native Americans and was used to treat persistent coughs and other illnesses.


History of Cobbler!

Photo by Stephanie Frey/
  • Cobblers are an American deep-dish fruit dessert with a thick crust and a fruit filling. Seasonal fruits are generally used for the filling.
  • Early European settlers to North America brought recipes with them from their homelands. When they couldn't find the ingredients they needed, they improvised, and cobblers were born. 
  • Cobblers were often served as the main course, especially as a breakfast food, but later became common as a dessert. 
  • While cobblers are baked, grunts and slumps are varieties typically cooked by steaming in a skillet or pan on top of the stove. They have a biscuit-like dough plopped on top of the fruit, like dumplings. Grunts probably got their name from the sound of the steam under the dough. Blueberry grunt is a popular dessert in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Let's Learn About Nova Scotia!

Photo by Maurizio De Mattei/ (Peggy's Cove)
  • Nova Scotia (NOH-vuh SKOH-shuh) is a Canadian province on the eastern Atlantic coast of Canada and is one of three Maritime Provinces. The other two are New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. These three, plus the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, make up the four Atlantic Provinces. 
  • The name "Nova Scotia" is Latin for "New Scotland." In 1629, King James VI of Scotland granted Sir William Alexander, a Scottish courtier and poet, the right to colonize what is now Nova Scotia.
  • The indigenous Mi'kmaq people, who live in areas of the Atlantic Provinces, inhabited Nova Scotia long before European settlers arrived. 
  • The province's total area is 21,345 square miles. That is a little smaller than the US state of West Virginia. Nova Scotia's population is just over one million. 
  • Halifax is the capital and largest city. It is a historic maritime city with a working harbor and fresh seafood in abundance. 
  • English is the official language, and the province's first language is Mi'kmawi'simk. 
  • Nova Scotia is surrounded by four bodies of water: the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the Gulf of Maine, the Bay of Fundy, and the Atlantic Ocean. Cape Breton Island is a large Nova Scotian island off the province's northeast coast. 
  • Nova Scotia's geography includes several ancient fossil-bearing rock formations. In addition, a few low mountains of the Appalachian Mountain Range extend into Nova Scotia. The climate is more continental than maritime, with warm summers and cold winters. 
  • One of the certified UNESCO Starlight Reserves and a starlight tourist destination is in Nova Scotia, the Acadian Skies & Mi'kmaq Lands in the southwest of the province. Stargazing is much easier here due to protection from the pollution of artificial lights, especially city lights.
  • The cuisine of Nova Scotia is heavy on local seafood, especially lobster, but a few non-seafood dishes are also popular in the province.  
  • One of these dishes, introduced in the 1970s by a Greek immigrant, is "Halifax donair." It is a variation of the Turkish "doner kebab," using spiced ground beef instead of lamb. The donair, also similar to Greek "gyros," is served in flatbread and covered with its unique sweet sauce made of evaporated or condensed milk, vinegar, sugar, and garlic. 
  • Hodge Podge (or Hotch Potch) is a soup or stew that is eaten in Nova Scotia and Scotland. It consists of mutton, beef, or other meat cooked with mixed green and root vegetables. Rappie Pie is an Acadian casserole made of grated potatoes, chicken, broth, and onions and then baked.  

What Is It Like to Be a Kid in Nova Scotia?

  • Children in Nova Scotia start school at five or four if they go to preschool and are required to attend until they are 16 years old. However, they usually go through grade 12, and many continue to university. Parents sometimes homeschool their kids. 
  • English is the primary language used in class, but students may also go to a French language immersion school. 
  • Some of the sports kids participate in are ice hockey, basketball, soccer, baseball, and volleyball. The weather can be more moderate than in other Canadian provinces, and kids enjoy playing outside. 
  • Fun activities with families can include hiking, biking, or going to the beach. They may visit the Hope for Wildlife rehabilitation center for injured and orphaned wildlife or the Deep Sky Eye Observatory, and they have several different choices of museums.
  • A favorite treat for Nova Scotian kids may be a blueberry grunt, a dessert similar to a cobbler but cooked on the stove with biscuit dough on top.

The Yolk's On You

Tongue twister:

Say it 3 times fast . . . "Bake big batches of brown blueberry bread."

The Yolk's On You

What do bakers give their moms on Mother's Day? 


Lettuce Joke Around

What is blue and goes up and down? 

A blueberry in an elevator!

Lettuce Joke Around

What’s a ghost’s favorite fruit? 


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