Earlier this week, I took a break from my favorite summer activities of wine tasting, beach walks and bread baking to pick blueberries at nearby Gibson Farms. I can’t say I’m the most efficient at this, as I subscribe to the notion of “pick one, eat two”, but both my friend P and I wound up with a solid haul: 9 pounds for her; 7 for me. (Not unlike giving birth, we joked.)
The first acres on this family farm were planted in the 40’s, with more added in the 80’s. The moist, mild climate of the central coast gives the berries their distinctive sweetness, and draws large crowds during the two-week “U-pick“ season.
Berkeley blueberries are Gibson’s current crop. Considered the most popular home garden variety of blueberry, Berkeleys grow well in mild climates. Their medium to large size fruit has great flavor and firmness, as well as a long shelf life, should you happen to not devour the entire crop in one sitting.
You probably know that blueberries are healthy — at least until they turn into a pie!
A few facts:
- Blueberries contain a plant compound called anthocyanin. This gives blueberries both their blue color (cyan) and many of their health benefits.
- Blueberries can improve bone strength, skin health, blood pressure, diabetes management, cancer prevention, and mental health.
- Their fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and phytonutrient content support heart health. (Fiber helps to reduce the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease.)
- One cup of blueberries provides 24% of a person’s recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
- People who use blood thinners, such as warfarin, should speak to their doctor before increasing their intake of blueberries, as the high vitamin K content can affect blood clotting.
Now, other than merely eating great handfuls, what else can you do? Plenty! — from smoothies to pancakes to salsa to desserts.
Besides the aforementioned pie, I made up a batch of muffins using this King Arthur flour basic muffin recipe
and adding 2 cups of blueberries to the dry ingredients before combining with the wet ones. This trick keeps the berries from sinking to the bottom.
The muffins would be even tastier with the addition of a streusel topping, but I thought it prudent to skip the additional butter and sugar.
If you are feeling indulgent, though, check out this wonderful Ina Garten recipe
from my friend Terry’s blog. Terry will never steer you wrong when it comes to deliciousness!
Enjoy the rest of your week!