Blueberries get no respect


By Bill Colvard - [email protected]



Blueberry oatmeal cookies are a tasty twist on an old favorite.


U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Steve Noga’s blueberries are ripening nicely.


Courtesy photo | Steve Noga

Blueberry season is the perfect time to debate George Carlin’s old saw that there are no blue foods. Are blueberries blue? Or are they purple, as Carlin claimed, or perhaps black?

When this debate is conducted over a blueberry fool or buckle, Carlin would definitely seem to be onto something. Once cooked, blueberries aren’t blue at all. But eaten fresh and ripe, they are kind of blue. A purplish blue, but still sort of blue.

The connection blueberries have with comedians isn’t limited to George Carlin. Like another comedian of yesteryear, Rodney Dangerfield, blueberries get no respect. Blueberries just don’t garner the same devotion as their more esoteric kin, strawberries and raspberries.

Which is unfortunate for a fruit that is practically perfect. Blueberries are not as fragile as other berries, don’t need to be pitted like cherries or peeled like apples or peaches, they just offer up their deliciousness with no attitude, along with a considerable amount of nutritional value.

Blueberries are good sources of resveratrol, gallic acid, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin K (36 percent daily value), vitamin C (25 percent daily value), manganese (25 percent daily value) and fiber (17 percent daily value).

Those goodies in blueberries, along with other things, combat aging, boost the brain, fight cancer, support digestion, promote heart health, benefit the skin and help with weight loss.

That’s a lot of good stuff coming from a food that tastes good, no matter what color it is. Blueberries deserve more respect.

Enjoy them while the season lasts. And remember that frozen berries keep their nutritional value so this treat can be enjoyed all year long.

Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

1-1/2 cups flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

2 tbsp. milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1-1/4 cups fresh blueberries

Heat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another large bowl beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy and well blended. Add egg, milk and vanilla; continue beating until smooth.

Stir in flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until blended. Stir in blueberries.

Drop rounded tablespoons onto lightly greased baking sheets.

Bake about 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool on sheets for 4 minutes. Remove to wire racks to finish cooling.

Number of servings (yield): 24 cookies

Blueberry and Corn Crisp

Filling:

5 cups fresh (or frozen, thawed) blueberries

⅓ cup sugar

2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp. cornstarch

¼ tsp. kosher salt

Topping:

⅔ cup all-purpose flour

⅔ cup coarse-grind cornmeal or polenta

⅓ cup sugar

1 tsp. kosher salt

10 tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 1 large ear)

Toss blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch, and salt in a shallow 2-qt. baking dish. Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl to combine. Using your hands, work butter into dry ingredients until no dry spots remain and mixture holds together when squeezed. Add corn and toss to evenly distribute. Press topping between your fingers and break into large pieces over filling.

Bake crisp until topping is golden brown and juices are thick and bubbling, 50–60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 30 minutes before serving.

Blueberry Muffins

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar

2 large eggs

2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried

1 tbsp. grated lemon zest, (from 1 lemon)

1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a standard (12-cup) muffin tin (or two 6-cup tins) with paper cups. With an electric mixer, cream butter and 3/4 cup sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time; beat until combined. In a shallow bowl, mash 1/2 cup blueberries with a fork until liquefied. Add to butter mixture, along with lemon zest; beat to incorporate (mixture will appear separated). In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture in alternating batches, beginning and ending with the flour. Gently fold in remaining 1 1/2 cups blueberries. Spoon or scoop batter into cups, and sprinkle tops with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes, then turn out muffins onto a wire rack to cool 10 minutes more before serving.

Blueberry Crumb Cake

Streusel topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter (cut into tablespoons)

Cake:

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan and 1 tsp. for blueberries

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. allspice

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Make streusel topping: In a medium bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter using your hands or a pastry blender until large, moist crumbs form. Chill. Butter and flour a 9-inch square baking pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and allspice. In a large bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg; beat well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately until just combined. (Batter will be very stiff.) In a large bowl, toss the blueberries with remaining teaspoon flour. Fold blueberries into the batter; spoon into prepared pan. Sprinkle cake evenly with streusel topping. Bake until golden brown and a tester comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely.

Blueberry Fool

1/2 pint fresh blueberries, washed and picked over

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. granulated sugar, or to taste

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

In a small, nonreactive saucepan, combine blueberries, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and 2 tablespoons water. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until blueberries begin to break down and juices boil and thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and transfer to a small bowl. Place bowl in a larger bowl of ice water, and stir mixture occasionally until cold. In a separate bowl, combine cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks form; fold in 1/3 cup of the blueberry sauce. Divide among 4 dessert dishes, and spoon remaining sauce over tops.

Blueberry Buckle

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

5 cups wild or cultivated blueberries

Streusel topping:

Heat oven to 350°F. Butter a springform baking pan, and dust with flour, tapping out excess. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add egg and vanilla, beating until fully combined. Add reserved flour mixture, alternating with the milk, a little of each at a time, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Remove from mixer. Gently fold in blueberries. Pour batter into prepared pan; sprinkle streusel topping over cake. Bake until cake tester comes out batter-free, 60 to 70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Blueberry Bars

Vegetable-oil cooking spray

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups blueberry jam

Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with foil, allowing a 2-inch overhang. Coat with cooking spray. Set aside. Process almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; pulse to combine. Add butter; process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Lightly beat egg, egg yolk, and vanilla in a small bowl. With processor running, add egg mixture; process just until clumps form. Pat dough into bottom of dish; refrigerate until firm and cold, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prick dough all over with a fork. Bake until edges are golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Spread jam over crust; top with granola. Bake until jam is bubbling and granola topping is browned, about 30 minutes. Let cool on wire rack. Lift out, and cut into 2-inch squares.

Blueberry oatmeal cookies are a tasty twist on an old favorite.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/web1_Blueberry-Oatmeal-Cookies.jpgBlueberry oatmeal cookies are a tasty twist on an old favorite. U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Steve Noga’s blueberries are ripening nicely.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/web1_blueberry-noga.jpgSteve Noga’s blueberries are ripening nicely. Courtesy photo | Steve Noga

By Bill Colvard

[email protected]

Nominate your favorite cook to share their love of food with readers of The Mount Airy News.

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699, on Twitter @BillColvard.

Nominate your favorite cook to share their love of food with readers of The Mount Airy News.

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699, on Twitter @BillColvard.

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