30 June 2012

Things to do with Blueberries

It's berry season!  I always love it when they are actually affordable at the grocery store, but FREE is even better.  I've been picking quarts and quarts of berries from bushes that grow wild behind my parents' farm, and I'm literally running out of things to do with them.  Here are a few of the things I've come up with:

1.  The best blueberry muffins you've ever tried are here.  Absolutely delicious.  They never last more than a day.  The recipe, strangely, only makes 8-9, so make sure to put some water in the bottoms of the empty muffin cups so that they don't burn.  Also, the crumb topping seems to make an exceptionally large amount, so I reduced it a bit.

2.  Blueberry pie, completely from scratch.  (Wow, that sounds SO Martha Stewart!)  I made the crust from scratch, which I've never done before, using this recipe from "Made" (which we reference an awful lot on this blog).  It was easy and tasty, though my lack of skill made it a little ugly.  That just means that I need to try again!  I used the recipe for pie from the good ol' red-plaid covered Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, which was one of the best wedding presents we received.

3.  Jam!  Trina actually inspired me to give it a try last year, but I never did.  I was a bit intimidated, but there's really not much to it.  I used this recipe at a friend's suggestion, and it was delicious.  I've made five pints so far, which will keep my family in jelly for the next six months or so.  In an interesting twist, I was also able to use my grandfather's old Bell jars and canner; he died two years ago, and it was really neat to utilize the things he had put to use my entire life.

4.  Salad that's BETTER and CHEAPER than Wendy's berry chicken salad:  In a salad bowl, toss a handful of fresh spinach, a few blueberries and strawberries, some feta cheese, and some slivered almonds (better if you toast them for a few minutes).  You can throw in some chicken, too, and it's even better!  Top it with a raspberry vinaigrette, or really go pioneer woman: sprinkle olive oil and balsamic vinegar together with a pinch of salt, then toss it all together.  This is a great lunch!

5.  For breakfast, add blueberries to a bowl of Corn Flakes or Cheerios (or the store brand version); it makes a simple, quick breakfast taste a bit more gourmet.

6.  If you, like me, are running out of ideas, freeze the rest to enjoy later.  There's a trick:  DO NOT wash the berries you're going freeze; this will keep them from being too mushy later.  Spread the unwashed berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet or in a flat tupperware container, then freeze them. When they are solid, you can store them in a bag in the freezer, and it's easy to remove just the ones you want without having to thaw a massive lump of berries.

If you have any suggestions I've missed, do share...it's only June, and there are a lot more blueberries in my future.