Oh "YUCKO" I hear you scream! Hang on! Not so fast...these are delicious!
This isn't an original idea. People have been adding fruits to ground beef in order to increase moisture, flavor and reduce fat and cholesterol for years. Burgers can be made in this manner from leaner cuts of beef without toughening up and tasting like a piece of sun-dried raccoon leather. That's great news to anyone interested in shaving calories and saturated fat from their diet.
I seem to recall setting out to make a lower fat burger that wasn't boring. Regardless of my motivation, the addition of fresh chopped blueberries in ground beef was so delicious that I've grilled many blueberry burgers. The taste is amazing--flavorful and juicy. This is actually becoming my "go to" burger recipe. An unsuspecting guest will never know what the secret ingredient is. The taste of blueberries doesn't come through. However, observant eaters will notice the dark bits of skin peppering the meat.
Yes, I coarsely chop the berries before mixing them with the ground beef. But it was much more attractive to the camera this way, trust me.
School cafeterias in well over a dozen states switched in the late 90's from traditional beef burgers to those containing the addition of dried prunes, tart cherries or blueberries. The motivation to add fruit to burgers springs from more than one factor. Adding berries to grilled beef is thought by some to reduce the carcinogens believed to form during cooking. Fruit can also add moisture to leaner, healthier cuts of meat. The resulting burger produces less fat without a dry, tough texture. There is also the theory that these recipes were born out the creative marketing minds hired by the blueberry and cherry industries. Finding new ways to sell more of their fruit ensured more food for their own family's tables.
I can't give specific ratios of fruit to beef. Too much chopped fruit will make the burgers difficult to handle and result in patties that fall apart on the grill. I suggest adding just a handful of coarsely chopped blueberries to your first batch (try one small tester burger) and gaugeing ratios by the result. I added chopped blueberries once to turkey burgers and found the result to be very tasty, but, somewhat Fear Factorish due to its ghastly, puce-grey color.
To some freshly ground beef, I add the coarsely chopped berries and mix gently. I form the patties, using a slightly firmer hand than normal. Hang on while I detour and jump up on the soapbox:
Over-handling ground beef usually results in burgers that are too compact and tough. If preparing "normal" beef burgers:
DON'T press the meat into one of those hamburger forms sold in stores or mash the beef together. UGH!
Don't over-mix seasonings into the beef. Combine lightly and simply form loose patties with your hands.
Don't press the cooking burgers flat with a spatula--spilling the juices into the fire or pan.
Okay, I'm off the box now.
The surplus juice the berries provide seem to counter this unwanted compact texture and your burgers should be formed well enough to hold together while cooking. Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper just before cooking. Grill (medium-rare for us!) and top with whatever favorite accessories you desire. This produces one of the juiciest, most tender burgers you'll hope to have.