I have a confession to make.
I cannot bring myself to bake or cook with fresh berries.
Why not? Their season is so short, it seems such a waste to transform them with heat, when frozen berries will do the job just as well. And you can whip out frozen blueberries in the dead of winter, anytime.
But fresh berries in the dead of winter? You know they’re out of season, so they’re being shipped thousands of miles, and hey! *snaps fingers* we’re trying to eat more local here. In that process of being shipped across continents, they’re losing freshness and flavor, and won’t be worth much fresh anyway, in my opinion.
Why not practice a more seasonally-aware cuisine? Gorge on fresh when it’s available, and freeze or preserve once you’ve gotten sick on fresh blueberries. (Tomorrow I’ll be freezing blueberries, and show you how, which is hardly necessary, as it’s so damn easy you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it before.)
In the spirit of practicing a more seasonally-aware cuisine, we’re now eating 99% blueberries and sweet corn. Ha ha.
13 ways of looking at a blueberry
Simple, as usual, is better. There are approximately 3 general ways to go with fresh blueberries. First is sweet, and mixed with dairy and/or grains. Second and third are savory, in salads or salsa.
We’ll get the obvious out of the way first.
1. Blueberries plain in a bowl, eaten with a spoon or by the handful. See the picture at the top of this post. My favorite. Sprinkle with sugar for more sweetness.
2. Top breakfast cereal or oatmeal with blueberries.
3. Top pancakes with blueberries. Okay, I’ll allow you to make blueberry pancakes with fresh blueberries in them if you want. Just this once.
4. Blueberries in a bowl, with milk, or half and half, or cream. Add sugar if you insist.
5. Crush blueberries slightly with a potato masher, and stir into yogurt. Drizzle with honey or maple syrup. Thanks to Sarah of Yummy Smells.
6. Another from Sarah of Yummy Smells: Mash blueberries with a touch of honey, and layer atop peanut butter on graham crackers. It’s rustic blueberry jam!
7. Microwave vanilla ice cream for 10 seconds. Sprinkle fresh blueberries on top, and stir in.
8. Remember that strawberry feta salad? Make it with blueberries instead of strawberries.
9. In fact, add blueberries to spinach salad too. Try spinach, blueberries, sesame seeds, goat cheese, and a sweet balsamic vinaigrette.
10. Make a parfait layering plain or vanilla yogurt, blueberries, and granola. Add wheat germ and banana slices if you like.
11. Top lemon, lime, or vanilla pudding with blueberries.
12. Blueberry and corn salad. Blueberries like corn, which is handy since they’re in season at the same time. Cut the corn off of a cooked or grilled ear or two, add a cup or two of blueberries, some fresh basil, a bit of olive oil and lemon juice, and salt and pepper. I’m probably going to make this and turn it into a post. :p
13. Blueberry salsa. Chop up blueberries, red onion, bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, cilantro, splash in some lime juice, season with salt and pepper. Serve atop grilled fish.