Blueberries may, quite possibly, be nature’s most perfect food. According to these helpful folks at the High Bush Blueberry Council, they border on some kind of super fruit—low in calories, loaded with fiber and vitamins, and packing enough antioxidants that one might safely hoover up an entire grill’s worth of free radicals without turning into the picture of Dorian Gray. (Have a great Memorial Day, everyone!) In season, Steve likes to finish his morning routine with a fistful of berries dumped into his daily bowl of Greek yogurt. Michelle, less militantly pro-probiotic, prefers toasting a slice of Blueberry-Orange Bread from a recipe in Annie Somerville’s Everyday Greens for breakfast while we still have fresh berries around. The bread, which is sort of like a blueberry muffin in loaf form, is really simple to make and keeps well for several days.
Fortunately Gourmandistan is bracketed by berry farms, our current hauls arriving from downriver in Daviess County while we wait for some Hoosier conservative religious clan (Mennonite, Dunkard Brethren, breakaway Amish or some other severely-dressed sect we’re too afraid to ask about) to bring Northern berries in a few weeks. This slightly longer season has relaxed Steve, who so far has restrained himself to buying only one gallon (8 pints) per week. This amount currently suffices for breakfasts, snacks, desserts and some blueberry preserves so perfectly full of sugary-tart blueberry flavor they’ve convinced Michelle to turn out another batch. As for desserts, there are few standard sweets that can’t be bettered with blueberries. Steve eagerly awaits blueberry-peach cobbler, but for now we’ve just scratched the surface with Nigel Slater’s Blueberry Batter Pudding (really just a riff on a French clafoutis):
As this blueberry dawn won’t last forever, soon Steve will up his quota in order to start freezing batches for cold weather cobblers. This will most likely cause some alarm and dismay among his fellow market-goers as Steve buys up all the available berries. But Steve employs several furred and feathered alarm clocks who demand attention at the crack of dawn, so he can be the first in line. Baked goods and preserves are the only blueberries he can enjoy this winter—and when it comes to seasonal fruit if you snooze, you lose.
(adapted from Annie Somerville’s Everyday Greens)1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour 1 t. baking powder 1/4 t. salt 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened 3/4 c. sugar 2 eggs Grated zest of 1 orange 1/4 c. orange juice 1/2 c. sour cream 1 pint blueberries
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Combine zest, juice and sour cream in another bowl. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy in an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time. Add dry mixture and wet mixtures alternately to the batter. Scrape down bowl as needed. Fold in berries.
Spread batter in prepared loaf pan. Bake until browned and cooked through (until a toothpick comes out clean), about 90 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.