Blueberries are extremists. They need intensely acid soil, a pH of 4.0-5.0. Add sunshine and a steady supply of water to the roots and you will produce a bumper crop of those tasty berries. To acidify soil that is too “sweet,” use agricultural sulphur according to label directions. After you plant the blueberry bushes, use acid-producing organic mulches such as pine, oak, or hemlock leaves/needles at least 2 inches thick. You can also use a fertilizer formulated for acid plants.
You can prune blueberry bushes into ornamental shapes so they will even fit into a street-side garden. They have little bell-shaped blossoms in the spring, which turn into plump berries, first a kind of pink and then the
rich blue. You will know when the berries are ripe because they will easily spill into your hand when you gently tug on the clusters.
Northern gardeners can grow the Northern Highbush varieties that withstand the cold and snowy winters. If you live in a warmer climate, you’ll want to seek out the Southern Highbush and Rabbiteye blueberries, which tolerate heat and humidity. Some of the newer varieties don’t require a pollinator to produce fruit but you will have a larger crop if you plant two different cultivars. For cross-pollination, be sure to purchase two that bloom at the same time. Use your ripe berries for this scrumptious dessert Linda has designed.
Like most cooks, I lie awake at night trying to think of new recipes. What recipe could I create that would befit a Sunday afternoon dessert in the garden, be easy to make, and taste like heaven on a plate? Blueberry - Lime Napoleons with glazed blueberry, lime topping was the answer.
The next day when I was recipe testing, I put one Napoleon together and then I tried to take photos of it. Unfortunately, I took a bite before I had finished shooting. I ate it all! There was nothing left to send but a photo of an empty dessert plate. Ashamed I was. On the other hand, I was thinking about how glad I was that I had made only one, otherwise I would have eaten the other one, too.
Blueberry, Lime Napoleons with Glazed Blueberry & Lime Topping
1 package filo/phyllo dough
Follow package directions for defrosting, preparation, and storage.
I used 10 sheets of 9 x 14 dough.
Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF. On a baking sheet, place a sheet of parchment paper.
Melt ½-stick butter.
Place a sheet of filo on the parchment paper and using a pastry brush, lightly butter the dough.
Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Keep layering with butter and sugar until you have 5 sheets of filo dough.
Butter and sugar the top layer of dough, and add as many sliced almonds as you like. Slice the dough across the middle lengthwise, and then divide down into four sections. Place the filo dough into the hot oven to bake for about 10 minutes. Watch it and make sure it does not get too dark or burn. Remove to a plate to cool while you make another stack of cookies.
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup whipped cream cheese
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 ¾ tablespoons lime juice
¾ cup fresh blueberries
Using an electric mixer with whip attachment, whip the cream with the vanilla and sugar until thickened. Add the whipped cream cheese, salt, zest, lime juice, and beat until thick. Fold in the fresh blueberries. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Glazed Blueberries with Lime
2 cups blueberries
Juice of 1 lime
4 ½ tablespoons to 1/3 cup sugar
Place the blueberries, lime juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook until sugar melts and blueberries take on a shiny glaze. Taste for sweetness. Add more sugar if needed.
Prepare 4 dessert plates by placing one filo cookie on each plate. Divide cream filling into two equal containers. Spoon equal amounts of cream on each layer of the four filo cookies. Add another cookie to the top of the filling, and spoon the remaining container of filling equally onto each of 4 cookies. Add the last filo cookie to the top of each Napoleon. You will have two layers of filling and three filo cookies on each plate. Divide the Glazed blueberries between the 4 filo cookie tops to finish the Napoleons. Serve immediately. Serves 4. (You will have filo cookies left over, save for another use.)
By Stacey Hirvela, Spring Meadow Nursery
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners/ColorChoice Shrubs
Landscaping is often an exercise in problem solving: we may have an ideal plant in mind, only to find that it won’t thrive in our yards because our site or soil isn’t suitable. Fortunately, plants are wonderfully diverse and adaptable, so you’re guaranteed to find beautiful, landscape-worthy shrubs that withstand most any of Mother Nature’s curveballs. Think of the plants listed below as the landscape equivalent of the old saying, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!” — they tolerate and even thrive under the difficult conditions commonly found in backyards everywhere. This means less work for you and a better performance from your plants!
Click here to sign up for our monthly NEWSLETTER packed with great articles and helpful tips for your home, garden and pets!