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Blueberries by the Bushel

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It’s Picking Time all Over Cattaraugus County

By Eva Potter

Blueberry season is upon us. From now through the early part of September, you can pick blueberries all around the region. There are dozens of blueberry varieties, many of them grown locally, each possessing a unique flavor.

Blueberries are one of “three fruits native to North America,” according to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. (The others are cranberries and Concord grapes, in case you wanted to know.)

These berries don’t ripen after harvesting, so be sure to choose sweet berries that are uniform in color (no red or green showing). The grayish-looking “dust” you see on the berries is a harmless natural protectant, but it is a good idea to ask growers if they use pesticides.

If you’re looking for a delicious, sweet snack without all the guilt, then blueberries are an excellent choice. They are cholesterol and fat free and 1 cup only contains about 84 calories. And not only are these purple jewels of the season pretty, but they are also loaded with antioxidants and micronutrients including vitamin C and K, and minerals like manganese.

You can incorporate blueberries into just about any dish including salads and dressings, desserts, cold soups, and, of course, eating them out of hand.

Looking for new blueberry recipes to add to your collection? See page ___ for this week’s Blueberry-Lemon-Yogurt Muffin recipe.

Freshly picked blueberries will last up to two weeks in the refrigerator covered and stored in rigid containers to prevent crushing. Then get creative by canning, freezing or drying them so you can enjoy their goodness year round. Water accelerates deterioration, so if you must wash them, be sure to dry them before storing.

So what are you waiting for? Go alone or make it a family event — it’s a great way to spend time with the kids. And bring your own storage containers for transport home, as most farms don’t provide them. Just be sure you go before the first frost when the season is officially over.

 

Get Picking!

Blueberry Hill Farm & Greenhouse, 10016 Allegany Rd., South Dayton (716) 532-2920

Blueberry Meadows, 1414 Rowe Ave., Westons Mills, NY, (716) 373-2865

Burdick Blueberries, 8267 Thompson Rd., Cattaraugus, NY, 1-800-642-4245

Canticle Farm Market, 3809 Old State Road (Route 417), Allegany

Camp’s Blueberries, 67 Larkin St., Randolph (716) 358-6422

Childs Blueberries, 3207 Cooper Hill Rd., Hinsdale (716) 557- 2334

Crisafulli Blueberries, Maple Ave., Allegany (no phone)

Great Valley Berry Patch, 5609 Humphrey Rd., Great Valley (716) 945-5221

Pepper’s Blueberries, 3370 Bear Creek Rd., Franklinville (716) 307-0903

Tan Childs Farm, 4755 Five Mile Road, Hinsdale (716) 557-2189

 

Blueberry-Lemon-Yogurt Muffins

1 cup unbleached flour

1 cup quick-cooking oats, (uncooked!)

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup plain yogurt

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons applesauce

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup fresh blueberries (smaller sizes are better)

1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon zest

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin pan with baking spray or use paper liners.

Blend together flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Stir together yogurt, melted butter, applesauce, eggs and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour mixture into the center of dry ingredients. Stir until just blended using a rubber spatula. Do not over mix. Gently fold in blueberries and lemon zest.

Divide the batter evenly into muffin cups. Bake 12–14 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then remove from muffin cups and cool on wire rack.

Makes 12 muffins. Total prep time 25 minutes.

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