It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Blueberry season in Michigan.
Thanks to the warm weather earlier this year my favorite fruit has made its appearance a bit ahead of schedule, and I’m not complaining. The experts say the unseasonable temperatures and freezing affected the crop but still expect 2012 to be a strong year for blueberries.
You can buy market fresh berries or pick your own; find sources listed in the Michigan Agri-Tourism Association Farm Fun directory.
In addition to those cultivated on farms, blueberries grow wild across the state. And they’re celebrated at festivals in both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas:
- Downtown Marquette Blueberry Festival, July 27, Marquette
- Imlay City Blueberry Festival, August 3-4, Imlay City
- National Blueberry Festival, August 9-12, South Haven
- Montrose Blueberry Festival, August 16-19, Montrose, near Frankenmuth
- Wild Blueberry Festival, August 17-19, Paradise
Last Saturday I bought a big bagful of farm fresh blueberries at Detroit’s Eastern Market; the seller said they’d been picked the day before in South Haven. The little beauties were plump, sweet, and delish.
Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins C and E. And they taste great straight, by the handful, tossed into cereal or salads, smoothies, or baked into pies, muffins, scones. (Scroll down to see links to blueberry recipes at Great Lakes Gazette.)
I put some of those berries to good use in a recipe from a wonderful book published by the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society.
The Village Table by Stacy Honson and Kit Lane tells the food story of the West Michigan resort community through facts, photos, anecdotes and more than 200 recipes.
The 144-page book, which covers the culinary evolution of the area from its pioneer era to fishing, farming and resort days, is available from the Saugatuck-Douglas History Museum (or email to order at: email@example.com).
The story by Katherine Wilcox, who contributed the family recipe for Blueberry Grunt, explains that the dessert’s funny name comes from the sound that the bubbling fruit makes as the pie cooks on the stovetop.
We heard more of a sigh, which is the sound we made when we enjoyed the Grunt while still warm.
This July celebrate both National Blueberry Month and National Ice Cream month by enjoying this sweet treat with a dab of vanilla ice cream. Sigh.
Katherine Wilcox, from The Village Table
4 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp grated orange peel
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
Check through the blueberries for any bad berries and discard.
Combine the blueberries, water, and sugar in a medium skillet.
Cook over medium high heat until boiling.
Turn heat down and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes
While berries are simmering, combine the flour, baking powder, one teaspoon sugar, orange peel, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and stir to mix evenly.
Add the milk and stir just enough to moisten the dry ingredients. The dough will be fairly thick.
After the blueberries have simmered for 20 minutes, drop the topping mixture a tablespoon at a time on top of simmering berries in the skillet. Cover the skillet and cook for 15 minutes or until the dumplings are done.
Do not remove the cover during the cooking time.
If you want to brown the top, put it in a 375 F oven for a few minutes. (Note: the oven browning wasn’t working so I put it under the broiler for just a bit.)
When the grunt is done, spoon it out of the skillet on to a plate, serving while it is still warm.
Blueberry recipes at Great Lakes Gazette:
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