Gourmandistan

Blueberry alarm clock

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.

BLUEBERRY-ORANGE BREAD

(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.

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43 comments

  1. I love it! It’s not quite berry season here (we only have strawberries so far), but as soon as they come in, this blueberry orange bread is on my list.

    That is so funny too that Steve is beating everyone to the berries. He must get such a high knowing that he has them ALL ;-)

  2. Our first hint of blueberry season happened this week when a pint sold for under $3.00! This bread on going on the to make list if all the berries don’t get eaten up in handfuls here too. They are just too good not to gobble right up.

  3. Best sentence ever: “…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.” I wish I’d written it.

  4. Oh, yum. I never thought I liked blueberries until we lucked into a house with some huge bushes alongside–wow. Now I see what the fuss is about. We usually eat the whole harvest by the fist-full, but if I can rescue any I will try this bread. I love this cookbook but never noticed this recipe, which looks great. Thanks!

    • I admit I really only like them cooked. But I like them cooked a great deal! We have absolutely the wrong soil for growing them, but luckily that’s not true for everyone around here.

      • I don’t know about our soil, but I do know that blueberries grown here in the Pacific Northwest are a whole different ballgame than the ones I ever had growing up in CA, they are worlds better. It’s a small consolation for not being able to grow big tomatoes here. :)

  5. Love this! And as usual love the photos! And I’m SO jealous of your blueberry farms. Blueberries are appearing here but pick your own is a challenge in London. Are you going to blog the perfect blueberry preserves? You should.

    • Aaaw, thanks. We’ll see. One thing I have learned already about blueberry preserves is that getting a good photo is difficult. It looks really black.

  6. Carolyn Melcher

    I love high bush blueberries as well. It is almost sacrilegious, here in wild Maine blueberry land, to love the high bush type.
    I cannot escape my SW Mighigan roots of delight in a handful of delicious blueberries. Right now…. must rely on the local supermarket. Please send that loaf with the pretty bow our way. Merci

    • Steve

      If I lived in Maine I would happily crawl on my hands and knees through your local fields, scarfing up low bush blueberries as I go.

  7. First glance at the photo: OMG, that’s a blueberry clafoutis! Then I read the fine print–STILL a nice idea. Beautiful photos, and the antioxidants-Dorian Gray-grill business is hilarious! Ken

  8. Inas

    Loved the recipe and tried it. I did reduce the amount of sugar and it turned out gorgous. First, was very orangy when it came out of the oven, but after letting it rest for few hours, the smell and taste were more balanced. Highly recommended for blueberry lovers

  9. All of this looks incredible! I’m itching to get out and pick some blueberries myself, but have been out of town. Maybe this post will be the kick in the pants I need!

  10. using fresh picked blueberries from my yard, I added 1/4 Cup Orange Soda, 3 TBSP flour (hence 2 extra jumbo muffins for myself!!). My kitchen smells wonderful and the bread is so beautiful scrumptious… (for a gatherings tomorrow)… Thank you for your post. I have looked for this recipe for the last 5 years…

  11. Hi, Michelle and Steve. This bread sounds – and looks – fantastic. So does the pudding, which I will look up shortly. Aren’t you lucky to have a plethora of healthy, beautiful and succulent blueberries at your disposal. Deliciousness. Take good care & happy Thanksgiving. Best – Shanna

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