I’m so very excited to share this special guest blog post. It’s full of blueberry recipes and Maine memories. Heather is a beautiful transplant from Maine. She resides in Berks County and we are so happy to have her. (Maine, you can’t have her back but for short vacations. She is ours now.) She is artful in her career and her kitchen. She has a few kitchen tricks and secrets for making entertaining a breeze but I don’t kiss and tell. Here she’s share some recipes reminiscent of her home state.
With blueberries now in season I’d suggest you get on it and try her recipes.
Recipes, text and photos by Heather Leah Ryerson Fountain
July is my favorite month of the year, not just because it’s my birth month but also because it’s national blueberry month. I love blueberries; I love the colors, tastes, recipes and memories of warm blueberry muffins and picking berries with my Grandpa as he would say, “one for me, one for the bucket, two for me, well…maybe one for the bucket” as we picked and ate fresh blueberries, our lips and tongue turning blue.
Imagine with me for a moment, it’s a cool crisp morning in Ocean Park, Maine (it always starts cool and then warms up to 80˚ at the beach); an idyllic small town bordered by the woods, the ocean and a salt march. It’s a perfect day made even more perfect by warm fresh blueberry muffins on the kitchen counter made by my mom with blueberries picked just that morning by my Uncle David. My Uncle David loved to get up early and go into the woods and sit among the low bush blueberries with a coffee can on a string around his neck so both hands were free to pick as fast as possible. As everyone else was waking up for the day, he would have already dropped by with blueberries for my mom.
In Maine blueberries are a highly celebrated fruit with their own festivals replete with pie baking and eating contests. If you are a foodie who loves blueberries checking out one of these festivals would be a day in heaven filled with blueberry soda, blueberry, pie, blueberry ice cream, blueberry lemonade and of coarse blueberry baked goods, like muffins. If you can’t make it to Maine you can create your own blueberry day in heaven by sampling some of the following products:
- Wild Maine Blueberry Jam by Stonewall Kitchen which tastes like pie in a jar and is packed with whole blueberries.
- Wyman’s Fresh Frozen Wild Blueberries found in the freezer section of your local grocery store.
- Blueberry Soda from Capt’n Eli’s or Maine Root Handcrafted Beverages. Both use wild Maine blueberries and Maine Root can be found in Whole Foods from Maine to Texas.
No matter where you live, you can pick or buy blueberries in your area. Most likely they will be cultivated, which works well in any blueberry recipe.
If you are wondering what the difference is between cultivated and wild blueberries, here is a quick primer. The main difference between cultivated blueberries and wild blueberries are their size. Cultivated blueberries are larger in size and slightly less flavorful than their wild cousins. For instance 80-90 cultivated blueberries fit in one measured cup, compared to approximately 150 wild blueberries in the same cup. Although both have the same health benefits, this does mean that you would get more blueberry skin in a wild cup of blueberries and therefore more of the antioxidants that make blueberries a superfood.
No matter what type of blueberries you use, the benefits of these blue beauties will make any event into a fresh, lovely summer affaire. Enjoy.
- ¼ cup fresh blueberries
- 1 small lime wedge
- 1½ teaspoons extra fine sugar or simple syrup
- 1½ ounces gin or vodka
- 1½ ounces Blueberry Liqueur (Flag Hill or other)
- 2-4 ounces chilled seltzer or club soda
- In a shaker muddle 18 blueberries with one wedge of lime.
- Add 1½ oz Vodka or Gin (If you prefer a more dry drink use Gin, if you prefer a sweeter drink use vodka). Add 1½ oz simple syrup or extra fine sugar and 1½ oz of blueberry liqueur (Flag Hill is my preference).
- Add ice and shake.
- Strain into a highball glass that has been filled ½ way with ice and top it off with seltzer or club soda.
- Garnish with 8 or so blueberries and a swizzle stick with candied ginger, a blueberry and a sprig of fresh mint or a simple lemon twist. Enjoy!
I would recommend making more than one of these tasty flatbreads, as the temptation to eat one before your guests arrive will be unbearable. This recipe combines the savory flavor of rosemary, with the sweetness of blueberries, the brightness of lemon, the creaminess of goat cheese and the tang of balsamic to create a combinations of flavors that will dance on your tastebuds and leave you thinking about your next bite.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 5 oz goat cheese plain, herbed or with honey
- 1½ cups baby arugula
- ¼ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 2 tbs Balsamic Vinegar or Maple Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tbs Olive Oil
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1- 1½ teaspoons grated onion
- 1 tbs grated lemon peel
- Prepare the flatbread
- In a large bowl combine yeast and water and let stand for a few minutes.
- Add flour salt and fresh rosemary to the water mix and stir until a ball starts to form.
- Sprinkle flour on your hands and place the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
- Knead the dough as little as possible, but until it is smooth and forms a cohesive ball, adding more flour sparingly as needed.
- Place the dough in a bowl coated with cooking spray or olive oil. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 475°.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a thin rectangle shape. Place the dough on a greased baking sheet and drizzle the top with olive oil.
- Bake for 10 minutes, until the crust is crisp and golden in color.
- Prepare the topping
- While the flatbread bakes, combine the blueberries, arugula, parsley, sea salt, balsamic, grated onion and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat and mix.
- As soon as the flatbread comes out of the oven crumble the goat cheese over the top, then add the arugula- blueberry mixture on top and sprinkle with grated lemon peel.
- Serve immediately.
About the author
Heather is originally from Maine which is the leading producer of low bush blueberries, wild blueberries, in the country. When not teaching at Kutztown University, you will most likely find her in Ocean Park, Maine enjoying the ocean breeze while cooking up a local seafood feast for friends and family.