The month of July is slipping by. But I don’t recognize it yet. Cooler temperatures make me think I am in September. Grey skies seem to announce spring.
But one thing that lets me know I am deep into July are the blueberries. Picking season is starting and, for those in the know, there is work to do and places to be!
- RELATED: Blueberry cobbler, lemonade and smoothie recipes for Michiana berry pickers, July 9, 2015
Jim and I take a drive to the Blueberry Ranch in Mishawaka where the berries are grown organically. The bushes are loaded with berries and the picking is good. Customers are excitedly bringing in their buckets for weighing. I am busy enough with work that a couple of bulk boxes come in handy: blueberries can pretty much go with everything.
My first memory of the word blueberries came before I had ever tasted one. A children’s book by Robert McCloskey, called “Blueberries for Sal,” told the story of a girl, Sal, and her mother picking blueberries in Maine and getting mixed up with a bear cub and her mother also picking blueberries.
Looking at the vivid drawings of McCloskey, I could almost hear the blueberries falling into the bucket, and taste them as a few went astray into Sal’s mouth.
- RELATED: La Bonne Vie: Time with grandchildren serves as reminder to take time for play, wonder and amazement, June 27, 2015
Later, I went berry picking with my mother and discovered the fun of walking slowly down the row, picking berries from the bushes and hearing the gentle plop of them into the bucket, fingers turning sticky and a little blue. And, after only a couple of hours, our buckets would be full.
The resulting pounds of blueberries were frozen or eaten fresh or baked into something or turned into jam.
The thing is, blueberries can be eaten at any meal or at any time. They are good for our bodies and tasty too.
Tomorrow I will eat them with orange cornmeal pound cake. But I also like them in a salad with cucumbers and goat cheese or on top of my granola for breakfast. I even put them in bread.
One of my favorite renditions, though, is a blueberry galette. It allows all the fruit flavour to come out. You can make it with peaches or cherries or any fruit. Add cinnamon or ginger or pomegranate seeds to enhance it.
Tonight, as the fireflies flicker on and off, I know it’s summer — but the blueberries bring it on home.
- 1 cup flour
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- 1 tsp. sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- 7 tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
- 3 tbsp. yogurt
- cold water as needed
- apricot jam
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1 tbsp. crystallized ginger
- raspberries or fresh peach slices
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. honey
- Pulse the dry ingredients together in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse it until it is the size of small peas. Add all the yogurt and then the water, one tablespoon at a time, until a soft dough is formed. Form into a ball. Let chill in fridge for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then roll the dough into a 14-inch circle between two sheets of parchment paper. Leaving 2 inches around the outer edge, spread apricot jam in the middle. Sprinkle generously with blueberries. Add the crystallized ginger. Top with a few raspberries or peach slices. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar. Drizzle with a little honey. Then fold the edge over onto the filling, making a rustic pie. Brush the edge with water. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes or until dough starts to turn golden and fruit is bubbling.
- Let cool for 15 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.