Blueberry Blues

Michigan Blueberries

Inspired by one of my fellow bloggers, Cookinginsens, who shared the delicious results of her recent freezer purge, I decided it was time to clear out the basement freezer.  I was making very good progress in this endeavor.  My final task was to utilize the last of the 2011 Michigan blueberry crop.  After all, the 2012 blueberry season had arrived. Why would anyone hoard frozen blueberries from last year when there was a new crop to be had?  Time to make some blueberry muffins — best with fresh blueberries, but quite serviceable with last year’s crop — and an excellent way to use frozen blueberries.

Alas, as the saying goes,  I was a day late and a dollar short in my freezer clear out. I arrived home today assaulted by a strange smell.  It didn’t take much sleuthing to find the source — a fatal collapse of our basement freezer.  I no longer had to worry about what to do with last season’s frozen berries, as they were a total loss.

I was not about to let that silly freezer ruin my day.  Going back to my original plan (after dealing with the mess), I set out to make my blueberry muffins — switching from frozen berries to this year’s crop.

And the Michigan 2012 blueberries are THE BEST!   If you live in Michigan, you know that this was a surprise.  Some farmers lost their early 2012 crops due to a warm spring, early blossoms and a late frost (killing the blossoms).   This was followed by dire warnings about meager crops and questionable quality — terrifying prospects for a die-hard blueberry fan.  Lucky for me, we live near a number of blueberry farmers, such as DeGrandchamp, who nurtured their crops through the frost with sprinkler systems.

Perhaps we just appreciate things more when we anticipate losing them, or it could be that the 2012 crop really is outstanding.  I’m not sure which, but it doesn’t really matter.  What is important is that the 2012 Michigan blueberries are delicious – plump, firm and sweet – and available.

Blueberries – Purchased in Bulk from a Local Farm

In the U.S., Michigan is the number one producer of highbush blueberries.  Most of these berries are grown in southwest Michigan.  It is in this corner of the state near Lake Michigan where the sandy and acidic soil, high water table and climate create a near-perfect environment for this healthy fruit — so conveniently packaged into 100% edible, bite-sized little balls.

If you are lucky enough to live near or travel to a Michigan blueberry farm, you can find bulk (10 pounds or more) blueberries for not much more than $2/pound or you can pick your own. Buying in bulk means you will have enough for your cereal, snacking (my hubbie thinks blueberries are “summer popcorn”), and baking and still have some to tuck in the freezer for next year.   Of course, the latter requires that you have a working freezer….

Blueberry Mini-Muffins

Blueberry Mini-Muffins

Blueberry Mini-Muffins
——————————————————————————–

Recipe By: A Global Garnish, LLC
Yield: about 24-30 mini-muffins or 2 large loaf pans

2 cups flour, all purpose
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh
1/2 lemon  lemon zest
8 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.   

2. Whisk dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) together and set aside.  Rinse blueberries, drain and mix with zest from 1/2 lemon. Set aside.

3. Cream 8 T softened butter with 1 cup sugar.  Add eggs one a time, beating after each addition.  Stir in vanilla and sour cream. 

Stir in dry ingredients mixing just until the lumps of flour disappear. Stir in blueberry/lemon zest mixture

 

“Ice Cream Scoop” to Portion Mix into Muffin Cups

4. Using a 1 ounce ice cream scoop (or other 1 ounce spoon), place muffin mixture into mini-muffin pan. I like to use a non-stick pan (e.g., Demarle mini-muffin pan).  If using a traditional pan, butter sides or use muffin cup liners.   

Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with cinnamon sugar.  Clean any that spills onto the pan (so that it does not burn in the oven).  

Bake mini-muffins about 18 minutes or until it is raised and lightly colored. Time will vary depending on the type of pan used and whether or not you use convection.  I find that 18 minutes is just right for one-ounce muffins in a Demarle Flexipan using a convection oven (375F).

Demarle Mini-Muffin Pan

5. Regular Blueberry Muffins – This recipes will make about a dozen large muffins.  Follow instructions through step 4, but bake at least 5 minutes longer.

Blueberry Loaf – This recipe makes about two large sized loaves.  Follow instructions through step 4, but spoon into a large loaf pan and bake about 10 minutes longer than mini-muffins. 

6. DO – AHEAD DIRECTIONS – Prepare muffins/loaves as described.  Cool slightly in pan and then remove and cool completely on a cooling rack.   Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. 

Note:  I stock “ice cream scoops”  in different volume for portioning foods.  Since these handy spoons push the food out, it is a fast and neat way to work.

Blueberry Loaves in Demarle 4-Loaf Pan

Blueberry Loaves in Demarle 4-Loaf Pan

Updated – August 23, 2014

14 thoughts on “Blueberry Blues

    • The blueberries should still be available. At least they would be in average weather years, but this year is not typical. If not, I’ll make some muffins and freeze them especially for our English visitors 🙂

    • I think blueberries of very photogenic — tough to take a bad photo — even with my meager camera. Still haven’t had time to get a better one. Although every time I look at your photos, I know that I need one. This winter, I think…

  1. What a shame about your freezer and all that was in it. The blueberry muffins must have been delicious with your fresh berries.

  2. I just love Cooking in Sens! Everything she makes is gorgeous. And so are these blueberries. We’ve been having an amazing blueberry season in DC as well and I can’t stop eating them!

  3. Pingback: Gwen Frostic Nature Prints « sustainably smitten

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