Quick & Easy|
By Beverly Barbour
Berries, berries everywhere: Blueberries
How can something so good for you taste so good?
Pint for pint, berry for berry, blueberries appear to be packed with even more nutrients than other berries. I used to buy a crate at a time and eat most of them as a snack food— I just pop them into my mouth and chew. My mother loaded them with sugar and thick country cream and stayed skinny as a rail.
Blueberries freeze well because they have relatively low water content. Most of the annual crop is used in products such as yogurt and muffins. Frozen or fresh they are delicious for breakfast when mixed into hot oatmeal, piled onto waffles, or stirred into pancake batter.
You can make a quick version of ice cream by mixing frozen blueberries with heavy cream. The cream firms up as soon as it comes into contact with the frozen berries.
Since blueberries are in season July through September you can probably make more than one pie or crisp while they tempt you in your grocery store.
They also make delicious sorbet.
You will note that when blueberries are used, the recipe almost always includes an acid ingredient like lemon or orange juice or zest. The fruit itself is low in acid, and adding an acid ingredient to the recipe enhances the flavor.
GINGERED BLUEBERRY SHORTCAKE
For convenience make the berry mixture, shortcakes and even whipped cream in advance and refrigerate; bring berry mixture to room temperature or warm slightly in a pan before serving. Make the shortcakes whenever time permits, freeze them, then defrost at room temperature or warm slightly before serving. In a pinch you could use Bisquick for the shortcake and include the ginger in the directions on the box for making biscuits.
4 cups blueberries
Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine first three ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook 3 minutes or until berries begin to pop, stirring frequently. Set aside. Short Cake: Spoon flour into measuring cups; level and pour into a food processor with baking powder and salt; pulse three times to combine. Add butter pieces and ginger to processor; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Place mixture in a large bowl; add milk, stirring just until moist. Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and press mixture into a 9-inch circle; cut into 8 wedges. Place wedges 1-inch apart on a baking sheet. Combine egg white and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Lightly brush tops of wedges with mixture; sprinkle evenly with sugar crystals. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, place cream in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. To serve: Split shortcakes in half horizontally; spoon 1/3 cup berry mixture over each bottom half. Top each with l l/2 tablespoons whipped cream; cover with shortcake tops.
There is an optional touch of lavender in this recipe which gives it a tantalizing aroma. Makes about 5 cups; 10 half-cup servings.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
In a saucepan bring sugar, water and lavender to a boil. Add salt and simmer 2 minutes. Transfer this sugar syrup to a metal bowl and let cool to room temperature. Strain and discard lavender. In a blender, puree sugar syrup, blueberries and lemon juice. Strain and discard seeds and skin. Cover and chill sorbet mixture at least 30 minutes and up to overnight. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a freezer-safe dish, cover and freeze until hard, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Roll in the blueberries for a healthy good time!