I have liked blueberry pie since I was a small child, but where I grew up there was not a soul growing fresh blueberries that I remember, so I think the extent of my blueberries were from a frozen pie that mother would serve occasionally, and if I remember correctly, it was mostly in the winter.
The extent of our fresh fruit other than citrus was pretty much limited to what we grew such as my grandmother’s elderberries that she made jelly from every year. I was very fond of her jelly and to this day have not found a jelly as good as her jelly from her own elderberry bushes growing on the fence by the field. And, strawberries that were grown in our garden with the vegetables, so when the berries were ready, mother would cut them, and then put sugar and a little water in them to make syrup to serve with the berries over ice cream, and shortcake.
As the years went by and more fresh produce became available in our local markets, I was thrilled to see blueberries in the fresh food section. I ate them with oatmeal, and brown sugar, dipped in chocolate, blueberry pie, cooked with sugar over ice cream, and you name it.
Several years ago, my mother invited me up to her house in the mountains for Sunday luncheon. She served grilled chicken salad with fresh fruit including blueberries, and then Berry Sabayon was our delicious dessert. Mother was diabetic and it was difficult for her to find a dessert that didn’t affect her sugar level so she used an artificial sweetener for this dessert. I couldn’t tell the difference. It was the almond extract that made the difference in the taste. This is an elegant dessert and can be served as the finale of a more formal dinner, just serve the dessert in crystal goblets or stems.
Wash and cut the strawberries if too big. Place fruit in a bowl. Sprinkle with your favorite artificial sweetener. Mix the sugar free pudding according to package direction, using low fat milk. Add the sour cream and almond extract. Place berries in goblets. Pour some of the pudding mix over the top. Serve.
New England Summer Tea Bread
Another of the recipes that mother gave me in the past 10 years. I used to make this one for the farmers market. It was a good seller.
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
3/4 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 large mixing bowl beat the sugar and butter on high until well-mixed. Beat in the eggs and lemon juice. 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.
By Stacey Hirvela, Spring Meadow Nursery
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners/ColorChoice Shrubs
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