Blueberry Muffins

August 4th, 2011 / Comments 11

Blueberries are ripe for the picking, and last Sunday was a perfect day to find a pick-your-own blueberry patch.

Vermont+Field Blueberry Muffins

I parked my car, followed the crowd to the table to get a pail and headed through the gate and down the hill. The process is simple, find a spot, pick until the pail is full, have the pail weighed, and pay the farmer. Children shouting, “I found some!” and the pings of blueberries hitting the bottoms of empty pails reminded me of Robert McCloskey’s classic children’s book Blueberries for Sal.

Blueberry+Branch Blueberry Muffins

Blueberries, the fruit of a shrub that belongs to the heath family, are related to cranberry, bilberry, azalea, mountain laurel and rhododendron. When ripe, they range in color from blue to maroon to dark purple.

Picking was easy – high bush berries mean stand-up picking – and I was able to gently rake ripe berries into the pail and leave the green ones behind to ripen. With no pesky insects or thorns to deal with, I picked six pounds of blueberries in less than an hour.

blueberries+in+basket Blueberry Muffins

At home, as I separated the leaves, stems and occasional mushy berry from the juicy, tart, berries, I considered blueberry possibilities. So many choices – freshly picked, with yogurt, in pancakes, mixed into muffins, cakes, crisps or buckles, whirled into smoothies, frozen in ice cream, preserved as jam or chutney, or in a pie topped with ice cream.

A blueberry snob may try to convince you that tiny, wild, Maine blueberries, gathered while one is on hands and knees while black flies feast on your neck, are the only blueberries worth eating. Ignore them, or if they come bearing baskets of berries, humor them, in either case know that whether you have wild or cultivated, high or low bush blueberries you are in for a tasty treat with the added health benefits of eating local, fresh fruit.

I put a large bowl of berries into the refrigerator and filled plastic bags with the remaining unwashed berries and froze them. The protective gray-white ‘bloom’ protects the berries so I don’t wash them until I am ready to serve or cook them.

With our friends Annie and Andy coming for a two-day visit I decided to make muffins to greet them when they arrived at mid-night.

Here’s how I made them.

blueberry+muffin+batter Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

I began by pre-heating the oven to four hundred degrees. In a mixing bowl, I used a wire whisk to combine one and three quarter cups of unbleached flour, half a teaspoon of kosher salt, half a cup of sugar, and two teaspoons of baking powder.
In a separate bowl I combined a quarter of a cup of melted butter, two eggs, and a quarter of a cup of milk. With as few strokes as possible I combined the wet and dry ingredients. Half way through this process I added half a cup of chopped, crystallized ginger and a generous cup of washed and drained blueberries.

I filled twelve muffin cups two thirds full of batter and baked them for thirty minutes until the muffins were golden, and a toothpick poked into the center came out clean. Crystallized ginger is optional, I added it because it gives the muffins a bit of a zing and more importantly because Annie loves it and I love Annie. You might choose to add nuts, grated orange rind, cinnamon or cardamom to please the ones you love.

Conversation paused as we enjoyed the sun, the flowers, the food and our friendship.

Blueberry+Muffin+01 Blueberry Muffins

Google ‘pick your own’ to find a farm near you.

Download and print a recipe with an ingredients list here.

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• 11 Responses to “Blueberry Muffins”

  • Carole says:

    Carol, you mentioned that you freeze your blueberries w/out washing them–I don’t know how you can wash them when thawed. I wash my berries, put them on a small tray, freeze, and then bag frozen berries.


  • Carole says:

    The local farmers’ market opens in about an hour and I plan to pick up blueberries. There is no “pick your own” near me, but that’s okay I’d rather purchase local bounty. And I’m not sure who would want to be pestered and bitten by black flies (I’ve had that “honor”), but I guess they see it as a badge of honor while picking blueberries.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  • Carol Egbert says:

    What was your other favorite?

  • Lucia from Madison says:

    Blueberries For Sal was one of my two favorite books from childhood!

  • Velva says:

    Awesome!!! We went to a local farm in early summer and picked 15 lbs of blueberries.Awesome! I have about 10 lbs left in my freezer to enjoy throughout the year until next season. So many blueberry ideas!

  • Karine says:

    I love your muffins! I used to go pick bluebberies when I was a kid because there were so much of them behind my house! But they were so small, it was actually a hard job.

  • Carol Egbert says:

    Thank you. My husband just arrived with blueberries. I'm going to try dehydrating them later tody. First I have to go and teach a painting class.

  • Ashwini says:

    Carol – I love your paintings, they cover lot of details. Good job!

  • Carol Egbert says:

    I hope to pick some more and dehydrate them in my new oven.

  • wasabi prime says:

    I just got a bunch of fresh blueberries — sadly not hand picked, more like picked from the store. 🙁 But your post about muffins inspired me to bake with them if I don't just eat them all beforehand!

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