Beautiful Blueberries

As spring turned to summer in New England I watched the blueberry crop creep up the East Coast. Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey. When I saw Hammonton on the label, I knew the local stuff couldn’t be far behind. But first I had to wonder how this town in the Pine Barrens (See “Jersey Devil Gonna Get You!”) became the self-proclaimed Blueberry Capital of the World. The answer to that question seems to be a confluence of soil, water, and marketing. The produce is big, sturdy, but not always flavorful.

Yesterday, however, I got the first of what will be many, many baskets of local produce. Larry visited Belltown Hill Orchards and brought back a most beautiful, sweet-tangy, plump, juicy selection. And a bunch of other stuff that wasn’t nearly as interesting as the berries. I ate a handful immediately, hearing my mother say, “Wash them!!” as I munched. Quick aside: Belltown is actually the nickname of East Hampton, the next town to the south of Glastonbury. And just so I don’t ruffle feathers, the orchard is in South Glastonbury, which considers itself a world apart from the main town of Glastonbury. You kinda hafta live ’round these parts to understand.

Tonight I had a bowl topped with Greek style non-fat yogurt, mostly for the contrast of color and flavor. Until the local produce arrived I’d been adding a few gratings of nutmeg to the yogurt, but these babies don’t need any additives.

I’ve already made the first batch of muffins, though not with the local crop. In fact I’m not going to put the Belltown bounty into anything except my mouth. There will be muffins, however, using Mother’s simple recipe. The key is to use so many blueberries (or whatever fruit) that there’s just enough batter to hold them together. I usually dump in all but a couple of tablespoons worth.

Blueberry Muffins

Makes 12

1 1/2 cups flour                                     2 eggs

1/ 2 cup sugar                                       1/ 2 milk

2 1 /2 tsp. baking powder                  1/ 4 cup vegetable oil

3/ 4 tsp. salt                                          blueberries

Sift the flour. Resift with remaining dry ingredients. Beat eggs. Add oil and milk. Stir wet ingredients into dry in a few swift strokes. Fold in blueberries. Pour mixture into greased muffin tin. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Let cool in tin at least 15 minutes before removing. Restrain salivating customers from burning their mouths and fingers.

I couldn’t lead with this today. Murdoch update: Twittersphere likes the scandal, MSM not as much, especially Fox; ex-p.m.’s son’s records not hacked after all; Wicked Witch resigns; WSJ head honcho follows her off the plank. Stay tuned, again.

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