Blueberries Ripe for the Picking!

Nothing beats walking in from the garden with enough freshly picked blueberries to make a delicious and nutritious summer treat! This year’s crop is plentiful and we are enjoying blueberries on everything.

So what to do with all this abundance? Today I baked blueberry muffins from an adaptation of Mark Bittman’s recipe, “Muffins, Infinite Ways.” See my recipe below.  I love the look of blueberries dressing up a spinach and IMG_2295honeydew melon salad. It’s easy to assemble and add a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar with tarragon.

It takes several years to reach the stage where there are enough berries to eat as anything but a snack while weeding.  Waiting for the bushes to mature is in keeping with my thought, “the garden is my teacher.” She teaches me patience and that good things are worth waiting for. Now we are (finally) enjoying the fruit of this lesson.

Blueberries like acid soils, so we mulch with evergreen needles and amend with peat moss. The greatest challenge is beating the birds to the berries! We drape them in netting to deter birds and fruit flies. We buy the netting at a fabric store to find a IMG_2293 (1)fine enough mesh to keep out the flies. Mike says they look like wedding veils!

Even before the bushes have many berries they are a lovely addition to the garden, lush green in summer and then burgundy red in autumn. There are many varieties from which to select, depending on how much space you have. Give blueberries a try if you have a sunny spot and have (or can adjust) to acid soil.

 

Best Blueberry Muffins, adapted from Mark Bittman's recipe, "Muffins, Infinite Ways"

Yield: 12 medium size muffins

Best Blueberry Muffins, adapted from Mark Bittman's recipe, "Muffins, Infinite Ways"

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil, plus more for the baking tin
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup corn meal
  • 1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk, plus more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin and line it with paper or foil muffin cups if you like.
  2. Toss blueberries gently with 1 tablespoon of the flour.
  3. Whisk together the remaining dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat together the egg, milk, lemon zest and melted butter or oil in another bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, combine the ingredients swiftly, stirring and folding rather than beating and stopping as soon as all the dry ingredients are moistened. The batter should be lumpy, not smooth, and thick but quite moist; add a little more milk or other liquid if necessary.
  4. Gently fold in the blueberries, being careful not to over mix
  5. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling them about two-thirds full and handling the batter as little as possible. (If you prefer bigger muffins, fill 8 cups almost to the top; pour 1/4 cup water into the empty cups.) Bake for about 20 minutes (about 30 minutes for larger muffins) or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before taking them out of the tin. Serve warm.
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