The Perfect Summer Appetizer: Blueberry Sweet Corn Salsa

take a dip of this fresh blueberry and sweet corn salsa, we promise it'll make your summer

As the weather creeps warmer and the days stretch just a little longer, we continue to embrace what it means to summer with style. Not just in the elements you naturally think of in regards to style (killer looks and places to be) but also in the sense of taking in the moment, slowing things down, and maybe enjoying a good bite or two.

That’s where our food photographer Jena Carlin, with Little Rusted Ladle comes in.

On a warm summer night, what could be better than a bright, cool salsa bursting with fresh herbs and crunch?

And really, what can be more quintessentially summer than juicy berries and fresh, sweet corn? Instead of simply grilling that corn or tossing those berries into a smoothie, we created a recipe that is right at home as a light summer lunch as it is gracing a beautiful table for an impromptu al fresco dinner party.

If there ever was a better vehicle for an appetizer than a crisp tortilla chip, I haven’t met one yet!

In the Midwest, sweet corn is plentiful, inexpensive, and FULL of flavor. Fresh summer corn is so tender and sweet, it doesn’t need traditional butter and salt to make it shine.I grew up on a farm in rural Wisconsin where the longer the winter is, the more excited we get for the rewards of summer: tons of fresh produce, including corn, greens, peppers, and yes, flavorful berries. I bring that love of food and seasonality to my work as a commercial food photographer and of course, love to feature it on my food and photography blog, Little Rusted Ladle.

summer with savor thanks to go-to recipes

Why this recipe works

Sweet corn straight from the cob, fresh blueberries, mint, lime, and roasted poblano peppers for some heat combine to create this unforgettable homemade corn salsa. 

Present your guests with a light, farm-to-table appetizer that is colorful, flavorful, and has excellent texture. Roast your peppers and corn when you have the grill going for your entree and then just throw the sweet corn salsa together.

a new summer go-to, fresh blueberry and sweet corn salsa

Step-by-Step Instructions

The most labor-intensive part of this recipe is roasting and peeling the poblano peppers (and even that is pretty simple).

All you need to roast the peppers is a direct heat source. This can be on a grill, over a gas stove, or under the broiler in your oven. Roast each side of the pepper for about 5 minutes. The skin of the pepper will begin cracking and popping; that is your cue to flip it over.

Remove the pepper from the heat source and put in a sealed container: a zip-top bag, a food storage container with a lid, or even a bowl covered tightly in cling wrap. Let sit for 10 minutes. The steam collecting in the container will help loosen the skin so you can peel it.

After 10 minutes, you can peel the pepper with your fingers. Don’t worry if you miss some skin; it’s edible just kind of waxy in texture. Now you can cut the pepper in half, remove the seeds, and finely chop.

Next, cook your corn. I like to make this salsa when I’m already grilling corn for a cookout, but you can just as easily boil the shucked ears in a large pot of water for 5-6 minutes. The kernels will be tender when the ears are done.

Allow the ears to cool to the touch and then lay flat on a cutting board. Cut kernels off the side of the ear, and then turn the flat side to the cutting board. Continue around until the cob is empty.

After that, the recipe is as simple as combining all of the ingredients in a bowl and stirring well. You can serve the fresh corn salsa right away or refrigerate for a day or two until you’re ready to serve it.

The inspiration for a fashion and food photography photoshoot

As I mentioned, I’m really a midwestern farm girl at heart, armed with a camera and an immense love for food. 

Food photography and fashion… didn’t think you’d see those two in the same sentence, did you?

I’ll admit, they’re an unlikely pair, but you’d be surprised just how often I am called on as a commercial photographer to photograph food, recipes, and people.

And really, it makes total sense. Our most treasured food memories aren’t just about the meal or the recipe, they’re about the people who shared them with you that makes them truly memorable and special.

That’s why when Buckle invited me to Arizona for a shoot featuring their amazing jeans, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

On the shoot, I photographed fun family-style meals served outdoors, this blueberry salsa recipe, and yes, the jeans too!

step away and escape into the blog

Behind the scenes of the shoot

When planning this shoot, I had several things to keep in mind:

  • The shoot would be outdoors, so I knew to plan for bright and what we call ‘hard light,’ direct light that casts clear and crisp shadows
  • The shoot would involve a beautifully styled outdoor dinner set and would feature not only the brand’s signature clothing, but aim to capture the meal scene
  • The climate in Tuscon, Arizona is dry and hot

The whole crew was dedicated, focused and a BLAST to work with. We had a lot of fun collaborating and crafting the scene, each bringing their unique skills and point of view to the set. Our blueberry corn salsa recipe was a perfect fit! 

You can see more of my recipes here and view my full food photography portfolio here.

If you’d like to see some of The Buckle and Little Rusted Ladle’s past collaborations , tap here!

I’d love to connect with you on Instagram, one of my favorite places to share my work, meet other food photographers and food stylists, and draw inspiration. Find me here.

Discover the Campaign


Photographer: Jena Carlin of Little Rusted Ladle

Photo Assistant: Austin Ho 

Product Stylist and Digital Tech: Katelynd Berg 

Food Stylist: Jillian Atkinson

Prop Stylist: Nicholas Faiella

Recipe Developer: Jim Rude

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