Thursday, June 20, 2013

What's in Season Now: Blueberries

Blueberries, those tasty little packages jam-packed with nutrients, are in season right now. I got them this week for $1.49/pint. And, when they are that cheap, I snap them up and stash a bunch in the freezer for the winter. Out of season, they can be absurdly expensive, but they freeze beautifully. To freeze, give them a rinse, drain well and gently roll them on some absorbent toweling. Put in a freezer bag and label. They will be there when you want some home-made blueberry muffins. You can thaw them and mix them into plain yogurt with a bit of granola. Any place that you use fresh blueberries, you can use frozen berries. In most recipes, you don't even have to thaw them.

This blueberry muffin recipe can be made with either frozen or fresh berries. They are not very sweet but have a good hearty flavor. I recommend you use muffin cup liners because it's really annoying to lose the bottom of your muffins in your muffin tin. The liners are cheap and will save you a lot of aggravation. You can freeze the baked muffins, if you can't eat them all within a couple of days. Especially in the summertime, muffins will mold quickly so I freeze most of them after they have cooled completely.

Blueberry Lemon Muffins
(makes 10, costs $2.50)

1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour (regular or pastry)
2 Tablespoons wheat germ (optional)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder (use 2 teaspoons at sea level)
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
1 egg
¾ cup skim or lowfat milk
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
½ Tablespoon fresh or frozen lemon zest, about ½ lemon
10 paper muffin liners

Place the muffin liners in a muffin tin. Preheat oven to 400°F.

Mix together the flours, wheat germ (if using), baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork until well-blended. Add milk and oil and mix to combine. Pour the liquid mixture over the flour and mix until just combined and there are no big lumps of flour. Toss the blueberries with the lemon zest. Add to the batter and gently incorporate the berries, mixing only to distribute them in the batter.

Evenly divide the batter in the 10 muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins from the tin and cool completely before freezing or storing in a plastic bag.

Adapted from Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of small breads by Bernard Clayton, Jr., Simon & Schuster, 1998.

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