28 July 2009

I was recently blessed with a bountiful package of blueberries that arrived on my doorstep. Bountiful indeed - they had a fresh from the field taste. A big “thank you” goes out to Atlantic Blueberry Co. and www.fromthefarm.com, a virtual farmer's market. The berries were a delight in that they didn’t turn to mush in my muffins and added a delicious flavor, tasted only in fresh summer berries. I was tempted to freeze a few just to see if they would taste as good in January. We ate every last one. Not a berry went undevoured. (yes, I made up that word) These were the juiciest, most plump blueberries I’ve ever had. Great pleasure was taken in making them the star attraction of a couple of my summer berry desserts.

The mammoth sized berries had a pure sweetness to them I have not found in our local North Carolina mountain berries. The photo to the right shows you the difference. Here, we usually get a smaller berry that has a crisp tartness that chases the first pop of sweetness. I’m not complaining. They have their perfect function in my kitchen as well. I’ve got a new love, though, in the blueberries from Atlantic. They make quite an impression in your salads, baked goods and especially desserts (think trifles) because they hold their shape, add bold color, and add naturally sweet flavor. They don’t get lost in the mix of other berries or ingredients.

I was raised running through huckleberry bushes, barefoot, grabbing the berries
before the birds got them. My taste buds have become accustomed to the wild, blue-black berry that closely resembles (and is often mistaken for) the blueberry. The huckleberry, however, has 10 small, hard seeds in the center, whereas the blueberry has more seeds than can be counted, so tiny that they're barely noticeable. Additionally, the huckleberry has a thicker skin and a flavor that is less sweet and more tart. Our local berries (perfect for pies) are a closer cousin to the huckleberry than the sweeter Atlantic blueberry.

Did you know the phrase "a huckleberry over my persimmon" was used to mean "a bit beyond my abilities"? I just thought I’d throw that in.

Go ahead and jot down a “note to self” reminding you to check the www.fromthefarm.com website next Spring to see when the blueberries are ready to ship. The dessert featured at the left is called "Summer Berry Bake" and is featured in The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. It's full of cream cheese and lemon curd. Use any berries you like, or a combination.

By the way, does anyone out there have a good blueberry chutney recipe?

Atlantic Blueberry Co. is located in Hammonton, New Jersey. Contact them at (609) 561.8600. Visit From The Farm at www.fromthefarm.com

1 comment:

iheartdessert said...

what kind of dish is that in the very last picture? it looks delicious!