Here in the South, we are one blink away from blueberry season. Nothing beats locally grown berries – they encompass a range of sweetness to which no grocery bought fruits can compare. To me, grocery store produce tends to absorb the flavors of their neighbors – perhaps they are just picked too early, which could also explain their sour undertones. Needless to say, I highly recommend taking a trip to the farmers market for fresh, locally grown produce. Or take a gang to a farm and pick your own goodies. Here are a few regional pick-your-own farms to visit: Blueberry Hill Farm, Morris Vineyard, and The Fruit and Berry Patch. Make sure to call ahead of time to see if they have enough for harvesting and that the time is right for picking.
– Blueberries hang on bushes like grapes. If you simply pick them one by one you might get some that aren’t ripe. The best trick to get the ripest and most delicious ones is to cradle a bushel in your hands and “tickle” them. The ripe ones will fall off into your hands naturally.
– Blueberries contain no cholesterol and are high in Vitamin A in addition to being a excellent source of antioxidants.
– Don’t wash your blueberries until right before they are to be used or consumed. This will prevent them from getting soggy.
– Refrigerating your blueberries will increase their life.
Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies with Blueberry Icing
1} 1 cup of softened salted butter
2} 1/2 cup of sugar
3} 2 cups of flour
4} 1/2 teaspoon of salt
In a mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar and butter on med-high until almost whipped. Then add flour and salt and mix on low until the concoction becomes a dough. Flatten dough into a disc, then wrap in plastic and set it in the refrigerator for an hour. Or – if you are impatient like me – put it in the freezer for 40 minutes.
Heat oven to 325. Form dough into balls about 1 tablespoon in size. Leave a thumb indentation too. Bake for 10 minutes, then pull out the cookies and press your thumb into them again because they will rise. Place them back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
Blueberry Icing Recipe:
1} 1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar
2} 1-2 tablespoons of milk
3} 1-2 tablespoons of blueberry puree or blueberry preserves
4} 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Whisk the icing ingredients together in a bowl. I start with 1 tablespoon of the wet ingredients (honey and milk) because they can be added if the icing is too thick. Add ingredients until the flavor is to your liking. If the icing is too runny add more powdered sugar. And by all means, please pretend you are a chemist (it adds to the fun). After piping the icing, the hardest trial is at hand. You must wait 8 hours for the icing to harden before consuming the cookies. If you can’t wait to try one, stick it in the freezer or refrigerator for around 30 minutes.
Blueberry Tea Recipe:
1} Brew 8 cups of water with whatever white tea you prefer.
2} Rinse 1 cup of blueberries.
3} Mash blueberries in a bowl. Keep Juice. Add blueberries to a tea ball.
4} Steep in the teapot for 8-10 minutes. Then throw out blueberries.
5} Stir in juice from step 3 and add honey. Then stir.
Serve hot or cold.
Happy Picking, Eating, and Drinking. If it is rainy where you live or it isn’t blueberry season yet, head over to our Herman Miller Sale, which ends June 10th. It will help pass the time.