Blueberries are popping out all over. The bushes are full of the berries that range in color from mid-dark blue through very dark blue to almost black.
And in their correct ripeness, they are sweet and tasty - known for leaving a tinge of color around the mouth when you are done tasting.
Blueberries are native to North America and have been known by different names in their time, such as the whortleberry, bilberry, hurtleberry and its cousin the huckleberry.
A BREAKFAST DELIGHT — Blueberry muffins make any breakfast elegant, especially when baked in the Paper Chef parchment lotus cups. The multi-color muffin cups will provide perfect results while giving culinary creations a fun and sophisticated burst of color. They are oven safe to 425 degrees, but the baker should not allow the cups to touch an open flame. And don’t reuse the lotus cups. For recipes and tips, go to Paperchef.com. The blueberries for this recipe were picked by Mike Boyd of Irondale.
-- Michael D. McElwain
So where do blueberries fall in the range of recipes in an everyday recipe book?
Looking through the index of the Kitchen Keepsakes Cookbook, it lists a blueberry bread, blueberry muffin, blueberry pie, blueberry sauce and blueberry pancakes. But there are many areas where the berry of many names can be added for extra flavor. Try them fresh in salads; with candied sweet potatoes, adding at the last minute so they don't stain the potatoes a purple color; and add them to gelatin desserts.
This is a recipe from the Kitchen Keepsakes Cookbook for a dessert bread. It has the flavor of lemon and the blueberries.
Blueberry Lemon Bread
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons shortening, melted
3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
10-ounce package frozen blueberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Beat eggs in mixing bowl. Beat in sugar, milk and shortening. Add dry ingredients, then vanilla and lemon rind. Stir to blend. Stir in blueberries - unthawed would be better to keep the batter from turning a purple color. Then add walnuts. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until bread tests done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan.
This is a recipe for a chiffon pie, my favorite kind, with blueberry puree and made fluffy with whipped cream.
It is from the Kitchen Keepsakes Cookbook. It serves between six and eight people, depending on the size of the slices.
Blueberry Chiffon Pie
Graham cracker crust:
20 graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
Two 10-ounce packages frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
4 large egg yolks
4-5 large egg whites
6 tablespoons sugar
1 cup whipping cream
Crush graham crackers in a food processor or place in a plastic bag and crush finely with a rolling pin. Combine crumbs, sugar and butter and blend well. Press crumb mixture into 9-inch pie plate, covering bottom and sides evenly.
Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes and cool.
To make filling, puree blueberries in blender or food processor. Pour into saucepan and add lemon juice. Sprinkle gelatin over the surface and mix until it thickens, about 1 minute after it starts boiling.
Spoon 1/2 cup mixture into beaten egg yolks that are in a small bowl. Blend well and return mixture to pan and bring to boil. Beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add sugar and mix well. Fold in blueberry mixture and egg whites while the mixture is hot. Cool completely and add the cream that has been whipped until it stands in peaks. Pour into crust. Refrigerate. Garnish with extra whipped cream.
Note: I haven't made this yet, but if I purchased a box of unflavored gelatin, it would last forever. Instead I would use 2 tablespoons raspberry or blueberry flavored gelatin if you can find it. I would add more than the tablespoon, because there would be sugar added in the fruit gelatin so it would not be pure gelatin.
Here is a pie that would be considered "like grandma made." It is best baked in a glass pie dish, according to Good Housekeeping magazine.
Easy Blueberry Pie
9-inch pie crust
5 cups blueberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large mixing bowl, toss blueberries with sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and salt.
Pour into 9-inch pie plate lined with homemade or store-bought crust. Homemade is best it was noted.
Dot with 3 tablespoons butter and add top crust. Crimp and bake at 400 degrees on a rimmed baking sheet for an hour or until bubbling and browned.
Warm blueberry muffins made breakfast special. You might even sprinkle on a bit of streusel topping, drizzle on a bit of glaze or shake on some powdered sugar.
2/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
3 cups flour
2 heaping teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 can blueberries, drained well
Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with the 1 cup milk. Fold in drained blueberries.
Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full and bake in a 375 degree oven until browned, about 20 minutes. If you can't bake the muffins right away, the mixture will keep in the refrigerator for two or three days, according to the recipe.
Note: It did not state the size of the can of blueberries, but I would assume it would be the 16- or 18-ounce cans.
These pancakes are more of a dessert, with a fluffy lemon and blueberry topping. It makes three or four servings. The recipe is in the Kitchen Keepsakes Cookbook.
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup lemon yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Vegetable oil for frying
1 cup blueberries
1 cup lemon yogurt
1 cup whipped topping
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
In medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Mix in egg, milk, 1/2 cup lemon yogurt and 2 tablespoons oil. Beat until fairly smooth. Brush preheated griddle with oil. Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake, put on grill and sprinkle with two tablespoons blueberries.
When done to a golden brown on both sides, add a dollop of the topping on top. Sprinkle with blueberries and top with powdered sugar.
Any kind of fruit shortcake is good, and this combination of blueberries and sliced peaches is no exception.
This recipe is made simple by using a tube of refrigerated biscuits dipped into melted butter, sugar and cinnamon.
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
10-ounce can refrigerated flaky biscuits
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 peaches, sliced
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
8-ounce container whipped topping
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Separate each biscuit into two layers. Dip one side in melted butter, then in the sugar-cinnamon mixture.
On a greased cookie sheet, arrange biscuit pieces with sugared side up, overlapping edges to form a ring, placing one biscuit in the center. Repeat with remaining biscuits to form another circle.
Bake at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. While biscuits are baking, combine peaches, blueberries and 1/2 cup sugar. To assemble shortcake, place one layered biscuit circle on serving plate. Spoon half of berry-peach mixture over biscuit. Top with half of the whipped topping. Repeat with remaining biscuit circle, fruit and whipped topping. Serves four to six.