Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Violet! You're Turning Violet, Violet!

One of my earliest memories is that of picking blueberries with my grandma and grandpa.  I was always especially close with my grandfather, and they took me blueberry picking one drizzly morning.  I remember thinking how huge the bushes looked, and wanting to fill my little white plastic bucket.  At the age of 3ish, though, it was just so difficult to put the berries in the bucket instead of into my mouth.

Blueberries are one of nature's true "super-foods."  They are extremely high in antioxidants.  So you can feel less guilty about eating them by the little white plastic bucket full.

Of course, for the few that survive the ride home after purchase, blueberries make us think of baking.  As previously indicated, I'm not the best baker.  My latest blueberry infatuation, though, is with this lemon blueberry poundcake made with ricotta cheese.  That recipe would only use half of the container of blueberries that were in your share.  I was so anxious to show this cake to you, but of course mine fell while it was cooling.  Ugh.  Another baking option that is a frequent go-to for me is cobbler.  Cobbler is my son's favorite dessert.  He'll eat absolutely any fruit cobbler you can think of.  This one uses cornmeal in the topping, which I thought was quite an interesting twist.  Yes, Nalls has peaches for that recipe too!

Did you try your hand at making jam?  Blueberry jam is pretty straightforward as well.  If you've read at all about reaching a set point for jam, let me clarify that a bit for you.  Reaching the set point indicates that the sugar has gotten hot enough to transform into gelatin.  This happens at 220˚F.  Boil the fruit, sugar, and pectin until it reaches that temperature.  Easier than using a plate or a spoon, use an instant-read or a candy thermometer.  Lemon and blueberry are a classic combination, so last year I had a little bit of a flash of inspiration.  I put my blueberry jam into half-pint jars, and then to each I added half a teaspoon of limoncello (an Italian lemon-flavored liqueur).  A little stir and some time on the shelf and wooooow...

I wanted to include some non-baking, non-dessert item that uses blueberries.  I came across this one for a glaze for ribs.  Hmmm...  I think I found my next project on the barbecue grill!

Go ahead, eat the blueberries.  Getting them all over your face, it's okay.  It just shows how much you enjoyed them!

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