Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Blueberry Season!

Yesterday I bought ten pounds of blueberries. WHY, you might ask would anyone want ten pounds of blueberries? Well because blueberries are the freshest and most economical in Pennsylvania in late June and early July. So I washed the berries, picked out the stems and the few little green ones (NO ONE wants to eat that bitter bite), and put them in three cup containers in my freezer.

Once I filled all my little containers I still had about a cup and a half of berries left - breakfast!! A wonderful start to a Monday morning for the resident Southerner and I - just in a bowl with cantelope and raspberries.

All winter I'll be able to make blueberry crisps (place blueberries in a casserole dish, cover with a mixture of melted butter, brown sugar and old fashioned oats. bake until hot and bubbly. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream); baked blueberry oatmeal, blueberry pancakes (or better yet REGULAR pancakes, layered with plain yogurt, with a lightly sweetened blueberry topping); and of course blueberry pies!

I actually used up the last of the 2007 blueberries just a few weeks ago, making a pie for Father's Day. I used the Joy of Cooking blueberry pie recipe, but reduced the sugar a little and added both vanilla extract and grated orange peel to the blueberry filling:

Preheat oven to 425.

(directions say: "Make flaky pastry dough, page 859"), but I just opened the box marked "pie crusts", and unrolled one of the pastry rolls into a 9" glass pie pan.

Then I mixed gently in a large bowl:

5 cups blueberries (I think I used closer to 6 cups)

1/2 cup sugar (recipe calls for 3/4 - 1 cup)

3 T cornstarch

2 T dried orange peel (if you are going to omit this, add a squirt of lemon juice)

1/2 teaspoon salt

a splash of vanilla extract

Spoon this mixture into the pie crust. Cover with the other crust, crimp the edges, and use a paring knift to vent the top crust.

Bake for 30 minutes, reduce heat to 350, and bake another 25 - 35 minutes.

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