Years ago when we moved to the upstate of South Carolina for a few years, I had to re-establish myself in business, so I started selling baked goods at the Saturday Farmers Market. One of the items that I sold was a New England Tea Bread. I had gotten the recipe from my mother and it was one of the best tea breads I’ve had. The bread was a good mixture of lemon and blueberries which always go well together.
I’d drive up the mountain to some of the fresh food stands and buy fresh blueberries a day or so before I started baking. I know that you think that this may not have been profitable but there was more to what I was doing than profit. It was the idea that I had made this bread with fresh off the blueberry bush berries, and it was obvious that I had made the right choice when I popped a few of those berries in my mouth to try them out. Sweet as could be, not the tart berries that you get in the store. Mixed with the sweetness of the cake like dough, and the tartness of the lemon zest, it was bread made in heaven.
It was also obvious that I had made the right choice when early on Saturday mornings the bread was sold out. In fact, I sold out of everything. It’s so hard to get made from scratch baked goods these days and those of us who grew up eating fresh products yearn for them when there is so much artificial flavoring out there. The Farmers Market certainly told the story.
Make some good tea bread, and take the time to sit out on the porch with a good cup of tea and just let life pass you by for awhile. You’ll be so glad you did.
New England Summer Tea Bread
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
4 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup milk
1 cup fresh or frozen small blueberries
Grease and flour 2 (7-1/2 x 3-1/2 x 2-inch) loaf pans. Set the loaf pans aside. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture, beating until just combined. Fold in blueberries and lemon zest. Spread the batter evenly in the loaf pans.
Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool in the baking pans for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Blueberry Corn Muffins
1 cup plain cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 2/3 cups blueberries
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Preheat oven to 400°. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Into mixing bowl, add cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in center of dry ingredients and pour in buttermilk, melted butter and egg. Stir just until combined. Fold in blueberries and lemon zest. Place batter in baking cups and bake for 20-25 minutes.June 11, 2010
By Stacey Hirvela, Spring Meadow Nursery
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners/ColorChoice Shrubs
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