Blueberries are in season until the middle (or even end) of August, so you’ve still got some time to make the most of them! Read on for few ideas for what you can do with this summertime super food (including a delicious family recipe).
Last Friday, I took my girls blueberry picking. We finally had a day that was not 100 degrees, and this seemed like the perfect way to spend an afternoon. We headed out to the Swift Creek Berry Farm, about four miles from Woodlake, off of Genito Road. It was adorable – a quaint veggie and herb stand, a white farmhouse with a red roof, and blueberries galore.
Equipped with our little white buckets, we set off to pick our little hearts out.
The berries grew on tall bushes about six feet high and in rows extending at least as far and wide as two football fields. The ripest rows were marked with yellow flags. We could have stayed there all day. It was like an adventure, finding the biggest berries, seeing how many we could pull off at one time, and getting the hidden ones underneath the branches.
We stayed for about an hour and a half, leaving with seven pounds of blueberries (at $2.09 per pound)… in our bags at least. We each probably had another half pound in our tummies.
Proud of our lot, we were even more excited to plan our berry concoctions in the kitchen. I invited my Gramma, who is patient with my children as they, ahem, help… and knew how to make some sense out of my manic “We have to make 100 blueberry recipes!” madness. We quickly got to work.
In addition to homemade blueberry jam (just pick up a $2.50 package of Pectin and follow the recipe inside — great with granola, on toast with almond butter, or as part of a PB&J) and Blueberry Caramel Sauce from August’s Bon Appetit (easy prep and perfect over ice cream), we made Blueberry Buckle, a crumb cake recipe from my Aunt Ellen — you may remember her from my favorite salsa recipe I told you all about awhile back).
Come to find out, Blueberry Buckle is extremely versatile: good for dessert with ice cream (or without); good warmed up or room temperature; good for breakfast, toasted with peanut butter spread on top. It’s also a lovely dish to take to a party if you’re asked to bring something, to a new neighbor, or to a friend with a brand new baby. Here’s how you make it…
- 1/2 c. butter
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 1/2 c. flour
- 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2/3 c. milk
- 1/2 c. blueberries
(Gluten-free? Use Pamela’s Baking Mix in place of the flour and baking powder.)
To prepare, cream together the first three ingredients. Add the flour. Fold in the blueberries. Spread the batter in a greased 9×13 pan and sprinkle with 2 more cups of blueberries.
- 1/4 c. butter
- 1/2 c. flour (again, if you’re gluten-free, use Pamela’s Baking Mix)
- 1/2 c. sugar
Cream together (I use my hands) and sprinkle on top of the batter and blueberries. Bake at 350 for one hour.
And in case you are wondering, yes, short of baking them, squishing them, or heating them up, there are plenty of other ways to make good use of your blueberries.
Throw them in a salad
They’d be a great add-on to any mix of greens. I would suggest spinach, feta or goat cheese, almonds, and tomatoes.
Eat them for breakfast
My girls have had them on their Rice Chex and Cheerios nearly every day. Throw them in your yogurt, or top your bagel and cream cheese with a few. Put them in the blender and create a breakfast smoothie.
Make a little on-the-go snack
Bag them with peanuts, Craisins, and granola, and voila! Your own Blueberry Trail-Mix.
Use them as add-ons for some of your favorite recipes
Bread, pancakes, muffins, scones, cobblers. They’d also be excellent in banana bread or even cornbread with some rosemary and lemon.
Blueberry season is NOT over. We have through the middle of August, in fact! So scoot your little selves over to your local farm and go a-gathering. My little sous-chefs and I will likely make another trip before too long; there are too many things left to try. Speaking of…do any of you have the perfect blueberry syrup or homemade blueberry ice cream recipe?