The Reason Blueberries And Lemon Pair So Well Together

A match made in heaven, blueberries and lemons were meant to be together. Bake up a batch of zesty blueberry scones and you'll immediately understand why. However, if you're hoping for a more definitive answer as to what makes the combination such a culinary knockout, we've also got you covered.

Flip through the pages of any cookbook and it's likely that most recipes featuring blueberries will call for a citrusy addition. Whether it's a splash of mouth-puckering juice in a jam or ribbons of zesty peel in a pie filling, lemon is the not-so-secret ingredient that makes berry-forward treats taste better. If you're wondering if certain lemons fare better with the tiny azure berries than others, however, the answer is yes and no.

Depending on which elements of the citrus you'd like to showcase, a mouth-puckeringly sour Lisbon might be a better choice in comparison to a vibrantly sweet Meyer. On the flip side, varieties like a thick-skinned Eureka might prove better for zesting rather than a Bearss lemon, prized for its juice. Almost all citrus varieties can make for a great pairing with blueberries, and the reason has to do with how the flavors balance each other out.

When it comes to blueberries and lemons, opposites attract

Science tells us that even before we taste two ingredients paired together, we can already hypothesize if they might go well together — this is based on whether they share similar aromatic compounds, notes Wired. This may shed some light on why lemons and blueberries are great together, but taste also accounts for a huge part of how we perceive this combination of flavors.

Like a balancing act between sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami, a perfectly harmonized food pairing is a successful food pairing. That said, in the case of lemons and blueberries, the tartness of the citrus fruit works to balance the sweetness of the blueberries. It also neutralizes any of their bitterness to better enhance more subtle flavors. Furthermore, lemons add a freshness that can help cut through the decadence of blueberry confections, making the dynamic duo a must when baking.

Last, but certainly not least, The Seattle Times also reminds us that the acidity from a squeeze of lemon or a few fragrant peels can increase saliva production, making foods seem tastier — and blueberries are no exception. Taking the humble blueberry to the next level, lemons do what so many other ingredients only wish they could. Naturally, having one without the other just doesn't seem right given their strength when paired together.