"I prefer Hostess fruit pies to pop-up toaster tarts because they don't require as much cooking."
- Carrie Snow (comedienne, actress)
I have 2 bushes of Sunshine Blue blueberries in my garden. I’m contemplating a third. This variety is a smallish bush, reaching about 3-4 feet (1m) tall and wide. It is evergreen so is nice to look at most of the year round. The beautiful new leafy growth is bluish green leaves with pinky tinged edges.
All blueberries are shallow rooted, so good drainage, regular watering and mulch are best around the root zone for optimal performance and weed suppression. Blueberries like an acid pH soil, so your organic mulch can include spent coffee grounds and conifer needles. Your fertilizer should be an organic rhododendron or blueberry mix. Both are acidic.
Your local nurseries should carry plant varieties that will thrive in your climate and locale. There are lowbush varieties (New England), highbush varieties that grow throughout the US, and rabbiteye varieties (South and West US). Highbush like mine do not require cross-pollination but the others do, which means if you plant lowbush or rabbiteye varieties you’ll need more than one cultivar in your garden. Check with your local nurseries for specific information to your needs. They should sell you 2 year old plants or older to get a jump start on harvest. If you allow flower production on plants that are too young or too newly planted, you can slow down the root growth. A healthy root structure is so important to the plants overall health and more importantly, future fruit yield. Even removing the flowers the first year you have it will redirect the plants growing efforts back down to the roots. Patience will give you reward in the years to come.
Now for the harvest. Blueberry Grunt. What a bizarre name for a dish I thought when I first saw it, but there it is. Blueberry Grunt is like a steaming bowl of blueberries with a fluffy biscuit on top. It is yummy. It is said the sound of the simmering berries under the biscuit topping sounds like a grunt.
You can use your favorite biscuit or dumpling dough, or try my version below. Recently I’ve been experimenting with gluten free flours, so for this recipe I’m including both options. The gluten free flour mixture I used this time is Vanessa Maltin’s basic flour mix which can be found in her wonderful cookbook The Gloriously Gluten Free Cookbook.
In a 10 inch skillet (NOT cast iron) or an 8 inch pot, bring to a boil then turn the heat down to a simmer:
4 cups of fresh blueberries (no doubt frozen will do)
1/3 C water
Meanwhile in a separate bowl combine:
1 C all purpose flour OR
1 C of a gluten free flour mixture
½ TB baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt (I use Celtic Sea salt)
3 TB butter or butter substitute (I used Earth Balance organic buttery spread)
3 oz milk (I use soy or rice milk)
Wisk (or sift) the dry ingredients together. Cut in the butter till it’s fine and crumbly. With a light hand fold in the milk just till it’s all combined.
On top of the simmering berries, drop small spoonfuls of the dough, dotting the whole surface. Use it all up. Cover with a lid and let steam 15-20 minutes.
Enjoy immediately. It is heaven on earth in a bowl!
It’s quick, easy and ever so wonderful. You can make it sweeter by adding your favorite sweetener to the berries or serving it with whipping cream, but I find that neither is needed. You can make it dairy free, gluten free, soy free, sugar free…whatever your needs. Make your own version. There is no reason why you can’t substitute raspberries, blackberries or other in-season summer fruits for the blueberries.
Get your creative mojo going! Then tell us about your ideas in the comments.
In Bloom In My Garden Today: green beans, tomato, basil, oregano, zucchini, cucumber, black mondo grass, lavender, borage, veronica, fushia, rose, nepeta, salvia, russian sage, Daphne caucasica ‘Eternal Fragrance’ and ‘Summer Ice’, echinacea, liatris, coryopsis, caryopteris, begonia, alyssum, lobelia, heather, hosta, gallardia, Star Jasmine, anise hyssop, gaura