The brilliance of blueberries
3 things you may not know about blueberries:
- Wild lowbush blueberries (several hundred varieties), along with cranberries and concord grapes, are a native species to Canada and belong to the heather family
- British Columbia is one of the top three highbush blueberry producing areas in the world
- Blueberries improve vision at night; Second World War British pilots ate blueberry preserves before flying night manoeuvres
2 ways to try blueberries right now
- Put a twist on summery shortcake by using fresh blueberries instead of traditional strawberries
- Cool off with a chilled blueberry mascarpone semifreddo
1 tip you can't live without
- Blueberries freeze well, but frozen ones can turn cake or muffin batter completely purple if they're mixed in too much. Don't thaw berries before adding them to batters, and fold in very gently
1 collectible to pick up
- A vintage berry bowl with holes and a saucer, to go straight from garden to table
1 thing to remember at the roadside stand
- Shake the container very gently to make sure that berries move freely and are not soft and clumped together
2 ways to taste the best Canadian blueberries this summer
- Check out one of Canada's many blueberry festivals. Brigus, Nfld., Sioux Lookout and Sudbury, Ont., Fort McMurray, Alta., and Surrey, B.C., to name just a few, all have days devoted to blueberries
- Chill out with Markland Cottage Winery's Blueberry Rodrigues blueberry wine, or President's Choice Pomegranate Blueberry drink for a non-alcoholic option.
LEMON BLUEBERRY SCONES
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup half-and-half cream
- 1 tbsp milk
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 Preheat oven to 375F. With a fork, stir flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Cut butter into small cubes and mix with dry ingredients using your fingertips, until mixture resembles fine meal.
2 Add blueberries and 1 tbsp lemon zest and toss gently. In a separate bowl, lightly beat egg and cream together and add slowly to dry ingredients.
3 Stir mixture gently and then knead until it just comes together. Do not overmix. (The berries will break up a bit and the mixture will be wet.)
4 Divide dough in half and shape into two 6-inch rounds on a lightly floured surface. Using a cookie cutter or inverted glass, cut dough into 2-inch circles.
5 Place scones on an ungreased baking sheet and brush with milk. Combine granulated sugar and 1 tsp lemon zest and sprinkle over scones. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Tip: Serve scones with honey, preserves and clotted cream, sold in stores as Devonshire cream or English Double Devon cream.
MIXED GREEN SALAD WITH WARM BLUEBERRIES & BRIE
- 1 cup blueberry wine (such as Rodrigues Natural Dry, Newfoundland)
- 1 shallot, minced
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp each: salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp walnut oil
- 1 cup dried blueberries
- 6 oz brie cheese, rind discarded
- 12 toasted baguette slices, sliced 1/4 inch on diagonal
- 6 cups mixed greens
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 To make vinaigrette, whisk together wine, shallot, vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon, salt and pepper, vegetable and walnut oils, and transfer mixture to a medium saucepan. Add dried blueberries and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer mixture until syrupy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.
2 Preheat oven to 375F. Spread brie evenly over bread slices. Set slices on a baking sheet and broil until cheese melts and bread is toasted.
3 Divide greens evenly among serving plates. Set brie toasts over greens, and top with warm berries and a drizzle of dressing. Sprinkle chopped walnuts over salad and serve.
Contributors: Recipes by Tracy Syvret