Monday, February 26, 2007

An Ode to Blueberries on a Frosty February Morn

One of the best things about living in the Northwest that almost makes up for the mildew is blueberries. I have blueberry bushes in my yard and my children love to run outside in the morning to pick some fresh berries to put on their cereal or just to pop into their mouths and savor the sweet, juicy, tartness.

Most years I try to purchase an additional 10 lbs or so to tuck away in the freezer for year round use. On years when I've really got it together, I take my kids blueberry picking. We bring out Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey and read about Sal's adventures on Blueberry Hill with her little tin pail and then go to the blueberry farm with our own tin pails, although ours are plastic.

This year I had it moderately together. My friend and I took our kids blueberry picking, but we left it too late in the season. All of the easy to reach, fat clusters were gone. We had to reach for the few, small berries we could find and there was not much for our kids to do. While we tried to find enough berries to make the trip worthwhile our children were busy spotting toads in the irrigation ditches, playing house amongst the bushes, and generally complaining about the August heat. So, we eventually conceded that there was little point in staying and went home to enjoy the fruits of our labors.

I made muffins, a coffee cake, and froze the sad remainder, which I've been hoarding and using sparingly this winter.

This morning I woke up to find the ground covered in frost. Brrrr - aren't we done with winter yet? But what better time to use up the remainder of my precious blueberry stash? Muffins are in the oven and my children will be happy campers when they wake up!

My favorite blueberry muffin recipe is from Have Your Cake and Eat It Too by Susan Purdy, a holdover from my low-fat cooking days. It yields a nice, moist muffin that's not greasy. I like to double the batch, making 24 muffins so I have some to tuck into the freezer or share with friends and neighbors.

Old-Fashioned Blueberry Muffins

1 large egg
1/2 cup skim or 1% milk
1/2 cup nonfat plain or vanilla yogurt
3 Tbsp. safflower oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried, or frozen unsweetened (do not thaw)

1 - Put rack in center of oven. Preheat to 400 degrees. Coat muffin
cups with cooking spray.

2 - In large bowl mix together egg through sugar. Set a strainer over
the bowl and add flour through salt. Stir and sift the dry ingredients
onto the egg mixture, then stir just to blend. Stir in the berries.

3- Divide the batter among 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle a little granulated
sugar on top. Bake about 20 minutes or until the tops are well risen
and golden brown. Cool muffins in the pan on a wire rack for about 5
minutes, then use a fork to gently pry from pan. Serve warm. This also
works as a coffee cake in an 8" square pan, baked for 25-30 minutes.


Anonymous said...

I found you! We love blueberries. I remember picking blueberries with my Grandma when I was a child. She could pick a bucket faster than I could stuff a handful into my mouth. I like the recipe. I will try it and let you know how it turns out for me.

Amy said...

This recipe looks fabulous! I plan to buy some blueberries soon so I'll be using this recipe. You're so lucky to have blueberry bushes in your yard! We have blackberry ones but those grow everywhere. :)