Blueberry season is well underway and I couldn't be more excited. These little beauties pack such a healthful punch. I mean look at that gorgeous color! That color alone tells you it's full of antioxidants.
“Native Americans were the first to recognize the versatility and health benefits of blueberries, using them for medicinal purposes and as natural flavoring. Native to North America, blueberries have been part of life here for 13,000 years. The first highbush blueberry bush was successfully cultivated for commercial production in the early 1900s, and today, we grow nearly 1 billion pounds of blueberries in North America each year. A delicious legacy!” according to Blueberry.org
Here's some interesting information from the Blueberry.org website about the history of the blueberries we know now and wait for so eagerly each season: 1893 Elizabeth White sees the potential in blueberries as a crop. After years of harvesting cranberries on her family’s farm [in New Jersey], she was ready for a boost of blue.
1908 Frederick Coville begins experimenting with wild blueberries. A USDA botanist, he was determined to find the right plants to cultivate.
1911 Elizabeth White and Frederick Coville become partners. After reading Coville’s “Experiments in Blueberries,” White invited him to work together on her family farm.
1912 White and Coville’s first successful field plantings crop up. Despite what local farmers told a determined White, blueberries could be cultivated!
1916 The team harvests and sells its first commercial crop of highbush blueberries. Kitchens across the nation were about to get a lot more colorful.
1932 New Jersey awards Elizabeth White for her “outstanding contributions to agriculture”. Our earliest industry leader gets her due from the state where it all started. 1974 the USDA declares July as Blueberry Month. 2019 the American Heart Association certifies blueberries as heart healthy.
Blueberries are a smidge early this year. It seems this season that the berry crops are doing very well for most farmers but some concern lies with the tree crops to come, like peaches and apples because we had that March warm weather then freeze spell that damaged the fruit blossoms. So fingers crossed for our peach, apple and other tree fruit crops.
I generally like my blueberries raw. In fact, yesterday I ate an entire pint on my own. I really love blueberries in a salad and a favorite companion for me is pecans. We have plenty of lettuces at the Doylestown Farmers Market now, and with the fresh sugar snap peas, you can really make a gorgeous composed salad with these ingredients.
This week I'm sharing a blueberry muffin recipe with you. I've just made these muffins and they are yummy. I tried my best to stick to the recipe. I really wanted to add pecans to the inside and the topping and swap the whole milk for buttermilk, but I didn't. Next time I will for sure. But I couldn't resist adding a teaspoon of vanilla to the batter. And they definitely taste best right out of the oven. They were soft and pillowy. I used Castle Valley Mill stone ground bolted hard wheat as my all-purpose flour. I definitely think this recipe would be great for fresh raspberries, black raspberries and blackberries as well. Just add a teaspoon of vanilla to that batter. The recipe doesn't say this, but just mix all of the topping ingredients in a small bowl together. I chose to share this recipe because it's quick and easy. In fact, you could prep these the night before for a quick morning mix and bake (again, they taste better right out of the oven). Put all of your dry ingredients in a bowl as instructed, cover and leave on the counter. Mix all your milk, egg, vanilla and oil together and refrigerate. Line your cupcake tin with paper cups. Then in the morning, while the oven is preheating, bring your wet ingredients out to come to room temp while you wash your blueberries and make the topping. Add your wet to dry, fold in the blueberries and your batter is ready! But this recipe comes together very quickly so don't worry if you didn't do any prep the night before. Enjoy (right out of the oven)!
Recipe from The Catskills Farm to Table Cookbook by Courtney Wade makes 12
1 ¾ cup flour
⅓ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
¾ cup milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup fresh blueberries
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup butter, melted
¼ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease muffin tin or line with baking cups. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, and make a well in the center. Combine the egg, milk and oil in a separate bowl. Add all to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. Fold in blueberries and lemon zest.
Fill muffin cups until almost full. Spoon topping mixture over batter. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from pan and serve warm.