Theres only one bad thing that can be said about blueberries: They can be messy if you squish one. Other than that, theyre really a wonderful fruit.
Blueberries are a super food, one that is full of cancer-fighting antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber and potassium. This may sound obvious but when buying blueberries, remember they should actually be blue. If theyre even slightly green, red or purple, forget them.
Blueberries are in season now and affordable. So hopefully this column will nudge you toward adding them to your shopping list.
Blueberry and Cream Muffins
2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
3 ounces cream cheese, cut in cubes
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
Brown sugar to sprinkle on top
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the cups of a muffin tin with 12 paper liners. In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the eggs and mix until blended. Stir in the melted butter and mix until smooth. Mix in milk. Add dry ingredients and stir until all dry is incorporated. Do not over mix. Fold the berries into the batter.
Pour an equal amount of batter into each muffin cup, filling each about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on the top and then bake for 30 minutes (or until the top is golden); remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.
Blueberry Apple Salad
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen blueberries, divided
1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons apple jelly
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups (about 4 ounces) baby spinach
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 ribs celery, cut into 1 1/2 -inch matchsticks (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup pecan or walnut halves, toasted
To prepare dressing: In a blender, combine 1/2 cup of the blueberries, oil, apple jelly, lemon juice, orange zest, mustard and salt; blend until smooth. Set aside.
In a salad bowl combine the spinach with apple slices, celery, pecans and remaining 1/2 cup blueberries. Toss gently; drizzle the dressing over the top and toss gently then serve. Serves 4.
Blueberry Orange Sauce
This is super over roast chicken or turkey.
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 oranges, sectioned
Salt and pepper to taste
In a bowl combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt and then set it aside. In a small saucepan combine the orange juice and 1/4 cup water and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the blueberries and orange sections and bring the mixture back to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the sugar mixture to the berry mixture, whisk to combine and then cook for 1 to 2 more minutes; the sauce will thicken slightly. Remove it from the heat and serve. Makes 2 cups.
Note: If you want a sauce to go over a fruit salad, omit the salt and pepper.
Lime and Blueberry Bars
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup softened butter
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups blueberries
Extra powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl combine the flour and 1/2 cup powdered sugar until blended. Cut in the butter (mash with a fork until dough holds together). Press the mixture over the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, lime zest, lime juice and baking powder. Gently fold in the blueberries. Gently pour the mixture over warm, baked crust. Return the pan to the oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes until the filling is firm. Remove from the oven and cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, cut and serve. Serves 12.