In Season: Blueberries

July 8, 2009 by andrea | Filed under Handy Hints, In Season, Recipes, Summer.

bowl-of-blueberries

A friend gave me some fresh organic blueberries today. The plump berries looked so good that the first thing I did when I got home was take a picture of them. Then, as I was looking for blueberry recipes, I came across an article by Fine Cooking Magazine with some tips on choosing, prepping and storing blueberries. And did you know that July is National Blueberry Month? Yes, it’s true! Now back to figuring out what to make with these delicious berries… 

Blueberries…
-tips by Fine Cooking Magazine

what is it?
Juicy and sweet, small, round, and, well, blue, blueberries are a hallmark of summer, finding their way into pies, cobblers, muffins, poundcake, and pancakes. Blueberries are rich in pectin; with a bit of gentle cooking, they’ll thicken into a delicious compote to drizzle over ice cream. Wild blueberries are smaller in size, with a deeper, more intense flavor. They’re hard to find fresh outside of New England, but they’re widely available frozen.

kitchen math:
1 pint fresh = about 2 cups

how to choose:
You can judge some fruit with your nose, but not blueberries. Use your eyes first: Blueberries should have a lovely silvery-white bloom over the dark blue. Look for pints free of small, purplish or greenish immature berries, a sign that they were picked before their peak. Then use the heft test: Berries should be plump and heavy. The sure-fire way of judging blueberries is to taste a few, because sweetness is variable even within the same pint. Wild blueberries—much harder to find outside of the Northeast—should be tiny and almost black.

how to prep:
Pick the berries over and discard any immature berries or berries past their prime. Remove any stems and rinse the berries briefly in a colander. For most recipes, frozen blueberries should not be thawed before adding to a batter. Mix blueberries into batters gently and quickly, using as few strokes as possible to avoid crushing the fruit and turning the batter a glaring lavender.

how to store:
Before storing your berries, pick through them, discarding any squishy berries that may turn moldy and infect their healthy neighbors. Store the berries in the coldest part of the refrigerator, but not in a drawer, where it’s too humid and don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them. Fresh picked, they can last up to two weeks in an airtight container, although they can lose moisture during the second week and shrink slightly. For baking, this can work in your favor, however, because the flavor becomes concentrated. To freeze blueberries, rinse them in a colander, dry thoroughly on paper towels, and then spread them on rimmed baking sheets in a single layer until frozen solid. Once frozen, they go into plastic storage bags.

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3 Responses to “In Season: Blueberries”

  1. Brittany says:

    Andrea, your photography is amazing!! It makes me want to try every recipe listed!! Thanks for all the yummy ideas!

  2. Tanya says:

    I’ve had so much blueberries since the start of summer, but there is so much you can do with them. Thx for this guide.

  3. SippitySup says:

    These berries are gorgeous. I love your style. GREG