The blueberries are here! Finally. This is one of the things I look forward to the most in summer. The first of June brings these dark blue balls of deliciousness to the table. We live about three miles from a blueberry farm, and as soon as I see the signs go up on the side of the road, I am headed down there to get at least two gallons of fresh berries. Then it’s time to get busy.
The first thing I do is make a double batch of Spiced Blueberry Jam. The delicate balance of spices set against the tart flavor of the blueberries adds a little layer of pure delight to any biscuit or slice of toast. Toss some in your pancake batter can do nothing but improve the flavor. Made from scratch muffins with fresh blueberries is one of the best ways to start your morning.
This year I’ve decided to buy an additional gallon of blueberries to try a few new things. I want to learn to make blueberry syrup, sauce and pie filling. Although I don’t need a lot of any one of those, I enjoy baking something a little different in the winter, to bring a taste of summer to the table. The syrup will add a little dimension to the pancakes, and the sauce can spice up a slice of lemon pound cake. A blueberry pie in a graham cracker crust and topped with whipped cream would be the perfect dessert following a bowl of hearty vegetable soup.
But the one thing I want to make is plenty of Blueberry Cordial. My friend, Kathleen, taught us all how to make this at one of the Farm Women Exchange meetings. I quickly learned that this stuff is addictive, and one of the most versatile things I’ve ever made. Although I’ll make a few jars of plain blueberry, I’ll also follow Kathleen’s lead and toss in any other fruit I happen to have on hand – strawberries, kiwi, peach or even grape or apricot. I am also going to take it a step further with my experimentation. I want to try and see if I can preserve it in jars so I can enjoy it for longer than just the spring and summer months. To do this, I am going to put it in a pressure canner, as there are no real acids or pectin in it to allow for a water bath. I don’t know if it will work, but I have always felt that if I don’t try, I’ll never know.
Do you ever feel adventuresome in the kitchen? Trying new and different things is a great way of stretching your wings. You may have a few failures, but the successes will be well worth your efforts. It’s a great way to step out of the boring menus and add a little pizazz to your family’s table. So go ahead. Be brave. Try out that new recipe. See if that ‘exotic’ ingredient is something you will like to eat, instead of just drooling over it in a magazine or cookbook. If it fails, then you can pat yourself on the back for trying. And if it succeeds, you can bask in the compliments. Go on. Stretch those wings. And if you lose a few feathers in the process, just tell your family it’s an old Indian custom that is supposed to bring them good luck.