If you guys blog, I know this has happened to you – you have at least 3 ideas for new posts, and one you even have done the photos for – and that’s significant – and you’re only a day away from posting. But then something happens, and bam! All those old ideas are pushed to the back, and the new ‘something’ takes over everything.
Yeah, that’s what happened to me today – and what was it that derailed those other ideas? Blueberries.
Earlier this year, I had signed up to a blog notice from one of our local blueberry farms to let me know whenever they opened a new field for U-Pick – if you don’t get that kind of info, you take the chance of getting there and finding only left-overs, after many others had already gone through multiple times and cleaned out the bushes – to be first one into a new section makes picking so easy, you could, as one old guy told me, ‘… get your 5lb bucket filled on one bush!’ He was not exaggerating – timing is everything!
Picking blueberries is perhaps the the top of the chain when it comes to U-Pick (my opinion, of course), you don’t need any special supplies (they provide the picking buckets), you pick standing up (as say opposed to strawberries, etc.), there are no thorns (as opposed to many other berries), the ripe berries come off easily – unripe ones stay attached, and it’s a clean, dry, summer sport, where your competitors are friendly as well. And when you get home, the processing of blueberries is easily among the best too – you don’t even clean ’em off (the ‘book’ says don’t clean them until you intend to use them) – you just spread them out on a sheet pan and freeze them – once frozen, you transfer them to freezer bags, or in our case, into mylar bags for vacuum sealing – then into the freezer they go.
Zip-Zap, simple as that!
Here are a few more shots of our summer fun – and then I’ll sign-off by giving you a recipe for our favorite blueberry muffin (which we all know by now is really a blueberry cupcake – right? – Yeah, it’s still one of the best things you can do with blueberries.).
Doc’s Blueberry Muffins
(any fruits, fresh or dried, may be subbed)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Put the dry ingredients together:
- 2.5 cups of sifted cake flour
- 1 cup sugar (or if you wish to limit your sugar intake, use 1/2 cup Splenda or less, if your taste has sensitized to Splenda)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda (if using buttermilk)
- 1-2 tsp salt
- Also add your fruit now (if using fresh blueberries, I’d add about 2 cups – moisten them and sprinkle a few Tbs of flour over them and mix in – this will keep them from sinking into the muffins)
- Set aside.
Put the wet ingredients together:
- 1 cup buttermilk or milk @ room temperature
- 2 beaten eggs @ room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup melted butter (if your milk and eggs are cold, mix them with dry ingreds before adding melted butter)
- Set aside.
Once the oven is ready, grease a muffin pan (or use those muffin papers that I dislike!) – once your pan is ready, you can put your wet and dry ingredients together (do not do this too early, or you risk losing a good deal of your muffins’ rise) – Immediately, put the batter into the muffin pan – make sure the batter is evenly distributed and sprinkle each muffin with a bit of granulated sugar, large crystals if you have it – now, quickly get the pan into the hot oven.
Bake for 22–25 minutes and test with a toothpick or a pointed knife for doneness – if done, remove to a cooling rack. As soon as you can, it’s a good idea to loosen and tilt the muffins in their pan to allow them to quickly cool without steam destroying the crisp shell of the freshly baked muffin.
You may certainly immediately tuck into a just baked muffin, but they do tend to break open a little nicer given 10-15 minutes resting time. If you’re anything like me, you’ll play with these ingredients and their proportions, to your own liking. For instance, you might make these healthier by subbing whole wheat flour – adding ground flax or oats or seeds or nuts – using thinned yogurt instead of buttermilk, etc.
Enjoy – and get out there and get some berries of your own.