Beautiful Blueberry Galette

Blueberries are my absolute favorite local food! I’ve been loving blueberries longer then it’s been known that they have amazing health benefits – long before they were cool. Fresh, right off the bush is my preferred preparation (or lack of preparation… ), but baked into a breakfast treat or a sweet dessert is fine with me, too (especially if you add some Strafford Organic Sweet Cream Ice Cream). In salads, salsas, sauces – all good.

Blueberry season is here and the picking is great. Search for blueberries on the online Valley Food & Farm Guide to find pick-your-own farms near you or grab a pint at your farmers’ market or farmstand (grab a couple extra pints and freeze them for a winter treat).

 

Rosemary Blueberry Galette

adapted from lisina of Food 52

Julia A Reed food photos EDC shoot Aug 2015 (2)
Rolling pin credit Julia A Reed1700x500
Rosemary Crust
  • 1 1/4 cups all-pupose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
  • tablespoons fresh rosemary, very finely chopped
  • tablespoons turbinado sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cups ice-cold water
  • egg, beaten, for glazing the crust

 

Blueberry Filling
  • pints fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • lemon, juiced
  • tablespoons flour

Blueberry galette process400x250 credit Julia A Reed

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F
  2. Mix together first 5 ingredients. Cut in the cubed butter (you can use knives, and food processor, a pastry cutter, your cold hands) until it resembles course corn meal or the butter is the size of a pea.
  3. Add the ice water and combine until the dough JUST begins to come together (use the pulse function if using a food processor) – don’t over mix or the crust will be tough.
  4. Turn the crust mixture out onto some plastic wrap, then wrap it and flatten it into a disk shape. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
  5. Combine all the filling ingredients into a bowl and mix well, so that the sugar and flour coat all the blueberries.
  6. Remove the chilled crust from the fridge. On a flour dusted piece of parchment large enough to cover your baking sheet, roll out the dough until it is between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick.
  7. Spoon the filling and its juices into the middle of the crust and spread it out, leaving a 2-inch border of crust. Fold the border of the crust over onto the filling, creating rustic edges.
  8. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and sprinkle it with sugar. Slide the parchment and galette onto a baking sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

blueberry galette process credit Julia A Reed

 

 

Easy Berry Cobbler

I found this remarkable easy cobbler recipe at Divas Can Cook and was so surprised by how delicious it was and that the ingredients include only what you typically have in your pantry. The original recipe is for strawberry cobbler, but I’ve made this with every type of berry (sometimes, even a mixture of berries). Using fresh berries is best, but even frozen berries can be used to make this an easy dessert you can whip up year-round.

hands holding strawberries credit Julia A Reed

photo credit Julia A Reed

Easy Berry Cobbler
Adapted from Divas Can Cook
Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh berries, diced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries
  • ½-3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter, melted
 blueberries credit Molly Drummondgolden raspberries in hand
 photo credit Molly Drummond
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Grease a 9-inch casserole dish
  3. In a medium bowl, mix strawberries and sugar, set aside.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  5. Add in milk, vanilla extract and melted butter, stir until just combined.
  6. Pour batter evenly into greased dish.
  7. Spoon berries evenly on top of batter. Do NOT stir.
  8. Baked for 35-40 minutes or until golden.
  9. Serve warm or cold. Even better with a little ice cream 😉

Feature image photo credit Julia A Reed

Bartlett’s Blueberries

Bartlett’s Blueberry Farm opened last weekend for their 31st year of pick-your-own. Heidi Bartlett said that their bushes made it thorough the harsh winter and the berries are looking great! Blueberry season in the Upper Valley is short (lasts about a month), so take the family on an adventure and visit Bartlett’s Blueberry Farm this weekend. Heidi also said I could shared her secret berry cobbler recipe (see below).

While in the Newport area, take a walk along the scenic Sugar River Rail Trail and visit Sanctuary Dairy Farm Ice Cream for a cone. And, if you go on Friday you can visit the Newport Farmers’ Market (3-6 pm) with live music, story time for kids, and dozens of local food and craft vendors (including my favorite popcorn – Howln’ Good Kettle Corn).

 

Bartlett's blueberry picking.header

We are happy to share the following profile of the Bartlett’s Farm written for the New Hampshire Farms Network by Helen Brody in August of 2013. Many thanks to Helen Brody and the New Hampshire Farm Network for spreading the word about all the great local food being grown in New Hampshire!

 

In the early 1970s Bill Bartlett would often pass the Calkin Farm on Bradford Road in Newport and see Tom Calkin, not a young man at the time, painstakingly planting infant blueberry bushes and wondered, “When would he ever make a profit?” Blueberries take about eight years to mature.  Bill never imagined that one day he would be the owner of those blueberry bushes.

Ten or so years later, Bill asked Tom if he would ever consider selling the farm and “after receiving a firm ‘no’ for an answer, he went on to throw out a figure to Bill and wife Heidi. Bill was self-employed (more on that later) and felt that the times of year when a blueberry crop required the most effort would fit into his work schedule well. Besides, the family needed a larger house for their two boys, and he and Heidi needed to begin a plan for their own retirement.  Being of good frugal New Hampshire stock, they put their thoughts together and felt with belt tightening they could make the purchase price. And not only did they get five acres of twelve year old  blueberry bushes in the deal, they got the undying support of Tom Calkin with his encyclopedic knowledge of the fruit and his fanatical system for their care.

The spectacular location of the farm house looking toward Mt. Sunapee at the top of the hill of blueberries was a bonus in the deal. In 2001 the farm was named a Farm of Distinction by the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food.

With the land, came 5000 mature blueberry bushes planted in rows, 300 feet long, eight feet apart, and 60 plants per row. Critical to a healthy and productive blueberry bush is fastidious pruning and, says Bill, “our detailed style of pruning is a holdover from Tom who gave us hands-on training in Spring 1985 after we bought the place. We try and prune to heights where the average picker can reach the top berries.”

Today many large blueberry farms use a pneumatic pruner, but in April, Bill, Heidi, son Ben,  can be found lost amongst the bushes pruning by hand. Careful clipping assures better air circulation and reduces conditions for disease. The foursome begin by knocking off twiggy branches with a glove and then prune winter damaged and diseased larger branches and, since they can see fruit buds even before the leaves come out, they cut off interior buds to force fruit to the outside of the bushes for fatter berries and easier picking. “We figure it takes 250 man-hours to prune 5000 plants which means three minutes a plant.”

A blueberry farm has worked well for Bill over the years because before his retirement he was self-employed as a “hoof trimmer,” primarily of cattle. (He appeared on the TV show “What’s My Line?” in 1970). When asked how he chose his profession he said matter of factly “No one else was doing it.”  So he went right to work to devise a tilt-table mechanism for the cows to lie down in with their hooves held still using old seat belts.  “Cows are stubborn but I really enjoy them, so I got along well and never really had any trouble. I loved my job and the farmers.” He boasts that he never received a bad check in 35 years of work. “People in the farming world are in a different world from everyone else.” But in 2005 he noticed he was losing interest and felt that he was not doing the job that he was capable of doing so he retired and returned to his farm and blueberries full time.

In early July before picking begins, the Bartletts, with help from friends and neighbors, put up the netting which prevents the birds from eating about 30 percent of the crop. As with the cow tilt-table, Bill used his ingenuity to spread the netting. He adapted an old corn sprayer that was built to straddle the rows of corn. By adjusting its height to be above the berries and attaching a roll of netting onto a Gerry rigged mechanism, he unrolls the netting over the bushes and the crew on the ground ties it down. After the picking season, he also uses the machine to roll up the netting.

In mid-July when the visitors appear, Bill, Heidi, Ben and now grandsons Will and Luke (not pictured) personally show the pickers the rows marked with each berry variety and which rows are the current best for picking. “Tom Calkin, could not stand people “tasting” berries and it’s true, some people just come to eat,” says Bill. So the Bartletts established the “Sin Bin,” an idea they read about in the paper that was used by Guilford, Connecticut based Bishop’s Orchard. “If the wife picks while the husband eats, I have even seen the wife tell her husband to put money in the Sin Bin,” reports Heidi. At the end of the season the funds collected go to a designated group or organization in the area.

 

Heidi’s Blueberry Cobbler

2 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour

Lightly toss above ingredients together. Spread in a greased 8″ x 8″ pan, dot with butter.

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup milk

Blend together butter and sugar. Add egg and mix well. Stir together next four ingredients and stir into egg mixture alternately with milk. Drop spoonfuls over blueberry mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

 

Berry-time Smoothie

The Upper Valley is full of berries in July. Strawberries start the month, raspberry and blackberry season flows into blueberry time. This post is a fun reminder about how quickly and deliciously you can be enjoying fresh grown berries this summer (aside from eating them as you pick!).

Berry smoothies are easy, fast, and healthy – how much more could a busy person want? I picked raspberries and blueberries from our mini fruit patch and wanted to add a little pizzazz to the berries without doing any work…and I remembered how amazingly simple and delicious smoothies are. I put the berries in a blender with yogurt, ice (not necessary if you are using frozen fruit), and a splash of maple syrup, and zip-zip I had a satisfying drink or dessert.

Smoothie ingredients

Since I’m on vacation with family, I needed to make another batch to soothe the restless crowd. This time I added a few springs of mint and kale which took a few seconds longer to blend (not necessary if you have a Bullet, Vitamin, or like appliance), and was an extra-healthy and yummy refreshment.

 

Smoothie

Berry-time Smoothie

1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
6 mint leaves
8-10 ice cubes
1 kale leaf, stem removed (optional)

 

lakeside smoothie

My niece enjoying a smoothie while floating…tough life.

 

Blueberry, Basil & Jalapeno Salsa

As strawberry season faded in the last few weeks, I quickly turned my attention to blueberries – my all time favorite berry. And once again, I’m looking for some creative uses for experimenting and sharing with you – at least the successes. With blueberries now in season, and pick your own sites offering some of the lowest prices, there’s every reason to take incorporate berries into your diet on a daily basis.

What was I talking about? Oh, right. It’s useful to learn new ways to use familiar ingredients. That way, you don’t get fatigued on something after just a few days. Though, if you just stock up and freeze your berries for use throughout the year, that’s good too.

favorite pepper

How hot is your favorite pepper?

Even though blueberries are the focus right now, that doesn’t mean I’m disregarding the awesome amount of produce that’s flourishing right now. Often, I find the most interesting uses for fruit to be savory, not sweet. With this simple salsa jalapenos, basil, garlic and red onion pair with the berries for a spicy-sweet flavor.

It takes just a few minutes to get everything ready and toss in the food processor. A blender could work just as well too. Despite what many people think, comparatively speaking, jalapenos are relatively mild. Take a look at this pepper scale from www.liveinthenow.com. Jalapenos fall in between poblanos and cayenne peppers. And there’s a big difference between jalapenos compared and habaneros, which are much, much hotter. But there’s nothing wrong with a little heat. In fact, capsaicin benefits the heart.

If you’re hesitant, I suggest starting out with less. It’s much easier to add heat than to remove it. Start with just a 1/4 of a jalapeno if you’re really cautious. Or, use half and add the second half if it’s too mild for you. Note: remove the seeds of the pepper for less heat. Just slowly slide the edge of your knife across the inside of the pepper.

While you enjoy this simply as a snack with corn tortilla chips, it would pair fantastically with grilled pork chops or pork tacos. As the recipe suggests, try simmering for a few minutes to reduce the amount of liquid if you do decide to use in a taco.

 

Blueberry Basil and Jalapeno Salsa

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 cups

Want more heat? Include the seeds and try using the whole pepper. This would also be excellent with cilantro in place of the basil.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeded
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 large handful of basil
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Sea salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Puree everything in a food processor until smooth. Optional: Simmer the salsa to remove excess liquid. If using in a taco, for instance, this might be a good idea.

Notes

Adapted from www.closetcooking.com

Blueberry Thyme Zucchini Bread

Brace yourself. The zucchini invasion is upon us. And it’s only going to get worse.

At first, just a few short weeks ago, you were excited for the first squashes of the season – either in your garden, CSA, or at the market. But then you ate a couple. And another. Then a few more. Eventually the charm wore off. Now, they’re slowly piling up on your counter, one by one. You realize that perhaps you shouldn’t have planted twelve squash plants after all.

Now what do you do? Simple. Put zucchini in everything. But mostly, in things where you don’t even realize it’s there. And better, paired with other seasonal ingredients that can steal the focus.

Memories of your grandmother’s zucchini bread will remind you that this is certainly not a revolutionary concept. I haven’t come across a ton of recipes where blueberries were part of the mix (pun intended), though. What if you threw in some chocolate and a little thyme? Suddenly, it becomes more unique and you forget there was ever zucchini there to begin with.

Unless you are without a food processor and have to grate that zucchini by hand. In which case, it’s really not that terrible. Three medium zucchini are generally enough for two loaves of bread and that’s not too much effort. The processor just cuts the time down to a few seconds rather than 5 minutes.

The blueberries add a mouth popping burst of flavor while the thyme lends an earthiness that cuts the bread’s sweetness. If including chocolate, go for dark. I go through these breads for breakfast in no time and I don’t care for or benefit from too much sugar in the am. Add your own combination of nuts and seeds if you want.

Blueberry Thyme Zucchini Bread

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • zest of 1 lemon or lime
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts or seeds
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate pieces (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and grease two 8×4 inch bread pans liberally.
  2. Mix the zucchini, sugar, oil, yogurt, zest, vanilla and eggs in a bowl.
  3. Remove the leaves from the sprigs of thyme by pinching your thumb and forefinger and running them down the stem. Add to the mixture.
  4. Whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a second bowl.
  5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
  6. Gently stir in the blueberries and walnuts.
  7. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pans.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes.

Vermont Blueberry And Maple Syrup Sorbet

Did you know that you can get locally grown and flash-frozen blueberries in Vermont this time of year?  Check your local co-op or health-food store and look out for Vermont-made labels.  Also, try buying local berries this summer and freezing them for winter use. Homemade sorbet is great way to make a scrumptious and healthy dessert that is also low-fat.  Sorbets can be made with all different types of fruits – so don’t be afraid to try different forms of this recipe!  This recipe does not require the use of an ice-cream or sorbet maker and only takes about 5-7 minutes to prepare.  – And it was a hit tonight with all of my friends!

Ingredients: 1.5-2 cups blueberries 1/4 cup maple syrup 1/2 lemon, juiced ~tsp lemon zest dash of vanilla extract

1. Combine all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mash (or have a helper do so) with a potato masher just until the mixture is combined and the blueberries are smashed up a bit. 2. Place mixture into a blender or food processor.  Blend, pulsating when necessary.  My blender has a space at the top to insert a mixing device.  If your blender doesn’t have this ability, simply blend the mixture, stop it, and then mix it with a spoon.  Blend again and repeat until the entire mixture is fairly smooth.  Some bumps are perfectly fine.  Hand-held electric mixers would probably work fairly well for this purpose, too. 3. Dig in and bask in blueberry deliciousness:)