Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Blueberry Morning, Noon and Night

Hello! I thought I'd share with you an excerpt from an article I wrote for Lincoln County Magazine...
Blueberries are some of Maine’s most famous edible treasures. These tiny purses filled with sweet and sour, enrobed in royal purple, burst on your tongue leaving a smile behind. Just the idea of fresh blueberry pie makes me think of summer. These versatile berries are an excellent addition to any meal. By themselves or atop a salad, the blueberry explodes with both color and flavor- a feast for both your eyes and mouth.

If you look at the flower end of each berry the fruit bears a perfect five pointed star. Native Americans told stories about these “star berries”. Blueberries were dried and used in soups, stews, and jerky. The wisdom of the Native Americans spoke of the health giving properties of the berry that scientists are confirming today. Blueberries are one of the best fruits to eat for their antioxidant qualities. Not only are they healthy- they’re delicious too.

We all have read the book Blueberries for Sal. If you’re lucky enough (or brave enough) you have gone blueberry picking yourself, you know this is no easy task. There are no plink-plank-plunks in the bucket of today’s blueberry harvest. These days rakes are used by field workers to scoop the berries off of their stems. They carefully remove the leaves and package them up in tidy quart containers. It’s a difficult job that they make so easy for us.

The delicious berries are ready to be incorporated into your favorite recipe. Whether it’s muffins, salad or smoothies- they add fiber, vitamins and incredible flavor to your meal. Try them whenever you would use strawberries, raspberries or cherries. Dried blueberries are a wonderful addition to trail mix, and are great to snack on by the hand full.

When you see fresh Maine Blueberries at your local farm stand buy a few extra quarts. At home, place the quart containers of unwashed berries in individual zip plastic bags and store them in your freezer. They will be ready and waiting for your favorite recipe this winter. Any time of year is a great time to eat fresh Maine Blueberries!
Blueberry Cobbler

This fresh tasting treat is especially sumptuous with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. Blue tooth smiles will surround your table with plates extended for second helpings. You can double this recipe- and increase the size of your pan- if you’re serving a crowd.

6 c. fresh Maine Blueberries- rinsed and free of stems
1 to 1 1/2c. sugar or splenda to your taste
1 t. cinnamon
1 c. cold water
4 T. cornstarch
5 T. fresh lemon or lime juice

2 c. plain oatmeal
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter at room temperature
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Add the berries and cinnamon. Slowly bring fruit mixture to a boil and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Pour into a 9x9 greased glass baking dish.
In a separate bowl mix together the topping ingredients. Stir until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the hot berries.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

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