Joni Woolf: Everything’s coming up roses with blueberries
Published 2:57 pm Saturday, July 14, 2018
That title may be an oxymoron. But it’s meant to point to the rosy news about the nutritional value of the splendid blueberry. Many of our food choices — in fact, most of our food choices are made based on what we like to eat, what is appealing to our taste buds, what is plentiful on the market, what is affordable. After we’ve checked those off, we may ask, “Is it good for us?” Blueberries score on every count. They are full of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and manganese; they are low in calorie and high in fiber. They are one of nature’s most perfect foods.
So, when Susan Beger and Norman Race recently gifted me with a bag of blueberries — at least a quart — I sat down to a breakfast of shredded wheat, low-fat milk and a generous topping of blueberries. But there were so many! So, I began the search for a blueberry recipe that would focus on the berry and be relatively low in fat content. The recipes I had used in the past were always for some kind of pie or cobbler. I was looking for something different. I found it in an old cookbook called Georgia Entertains, published in 1983. Called Bluffton Blueberry Cake, the simple recipe produces a one-layer cake, light and fluffy, and loaded with blueberries. It did not last long.
Bluffton Blueberry Cake
1 ½ cups sifted flour (all purpose)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, separated
½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups blueberries
Flour as needed
Sugar for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift first three dry ingredients together three times, and set aside. Beat egg whites until stiff and set aside. Cream butter and beat in sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolks, beating well. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Fold in egg whites and lemon juice. Toss berries with a little flour, and fold into batter. Grease and flour an 8-or-9-inch square pan. Pour batter into pan, and sprinkle with a little confectioners’ or white sugar, as a topping. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a nice golden brown, and when cake springs back when touched lightly with the fingers. Serve warm or cool, plain or topped with whipped cream or ice cream.
I was so pleased with the results of this recipe that I went looking for others that featured blueberries. I remembered the picture of a cobbler dessert that I had used years ago, and saved. I found it — the last recipe in my oldest stack — still as I remembered. From an issue of Better Homes and Gardens in July 1997, it’s called Peach-a-Berry Cobbler. The timing is right: peaches are at the markets now and the combination of these two fruits make for a delightful summertime dessert.
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ cup milk
¼ cup butter, softened
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup cold water
3 cups sliced fresh peaches
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg or cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream (optional)
For topping, stir together flour, ½ cup granulated sugar and baking powder. Add milk and ¼ cup butter, all at once. Stir tell smooth; set aside. For filling, in a medium saucepan stir together brown sugar and cornstarch; stir in water. Add peaches and blueberries. Cook and stir over medium heat till thickened and bubbly. Add 1 tablespoon butter and the lemon juice; stir till butter melts. Pour into a 1 ½ quart ungreased casserole. Spoon topping in mounds over hot filling; spread evenly over filling. Sprinkle with a mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar and nutmeg or cinnamon. Place on a shallow baking pan in oven. Bake cobbler in a 350 degree F. oven about 35 minutes or until bubbly and a toothpick inserted into crust comes out clean. Serve warm, with ice cream if desired.
Both of these recipes are success stories. There’s not much to go wrong. So, try one soon and share it. The local markets are open and filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, so do not wait. Cook something special today.
Joni Woolf, a writer and editor, now lives in Schley County, having moved from her home in Macon several years ago. Contact her at email@example.com