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The Heart of New England
Not all Blueberries are Created Equal
Maine's Wild Blueberries
by Jenny Wojenski

I'm picky about blueberries.   I grew up in Maine (where 90% of the nation's
blueberries are grown) so I guess I have good reason to be finicky; after all --
as everyone from Maine knows --  not all blueberries are created equal.

When I first moved to New Hampshire my husband was so proud of the big
cultivated blueberries they had growing in their backyard. But when I tasted them
they were very “meaty” and just not enough flavor for a Maine girl.  Don’t get me
wrong; fresh blueberries are a tasty treat whether wild or cultivated. However,
given a choice I’d go for the little dark blue, almost black, succulent morsels from
Maine.

As a young child I remember going up into the woods behind our house with a
Fluff container and sitting on a rock in the opening near the power lines and
picking those tiny little blueberries that grow almost as ground cover.  If it was
August in Maine you would pick blueberries that’s all there is to it!  

Maine actually has 60,000 acres of wild blueberries making them the largest
producer of Wild Blueberries in the world. Because they are indigenous to Maine
they are naturally resistant to pests. Wild Blueberries can be traced back to   
Maine’s Native Americans. They used them, both fresh and dried, for their flavor
and nutritional value. Wild Blueberries bring in $75 million to the state of Maine
making them a major contributor to Maine’s economy.

In more recent years Wild Blueberries have been noted for their nutritional value.  
Studies have shown that the antioxidants in wild blueberries help delay the
effects of aging, particularly the loss of memory and motor skills. It is the “blue”
color in blueberries that has cancer-fighting properties and helps protect against
heart disease. Blueberries have one of the highest levels of antioxidants of all
fruits and vegetables. In addition; they are high in fiber, vitamin C and
potassium.  

So eat your blueberries!

Tips on picking and storing:

After you’ve picked your blueberries; lay them on a baking sheet so you can
remove stems and any other debris from the picking fields. Rinse them in cool
water and store in refrigerator crisper for a week or so. To freeze, pack in ZipLoc
bags after rinsing and draining. When ready to use them there is no need to thaw
them just use as is from the freezer. My children also love eating them frozen on a
hot day.

RECIPES

You can use either wild or cultivated blueberries for these recipes

Blueberry Cake with Lemon Sauce

2 eggs, separated
1c. sugar
½ c. shortening or butter
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ c. flour
1 tsp. Baking powder
1/3 c. milk
1 ½ c. blueberries

Beat egg whites until stiff. Add ¼ c. of sugar.
Cream shortening; add salt, vanilla and remaining
sugar. Add 2 egg yolks; beat well. Mix flour
and baking powder together. Mix with creamed
shortening alternating with milk. Fold egg whites
in with rubber spatula. Flour blueberries
and fold into mixture. Sprinkle sugar on top
and bake in 8x8” pan for 50 minutes or in a 9x3”
pan for 20-25 minutes. Serve with warm
lemon sauce (see recipe below).

Lemon Sauce:

¾ c. sugar
2 T. corn starch
2 c. water
¼ c. butter
dash of salt
¼  c. fresh lemon juice

Mix all ingredients well and grate rind
of 2 lemons into sauce. Boil; stirring
constantly until it thickens.


Blueberry Crisp with Cinnamon-Streusel topping

8  cups blueberries
¾ c. plus 6 T. sugar

1 ¾ c. flour
1 c. finely chopped walnuts
6 T. packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
¾ c.  (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted, cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 2 ½ c.
blueberries and ¾ c. sugar in a large saucepan.  
Cook over low heat until berries soften
and release their juices, stirring frequently,
about 8 minutes. Mix in remaining blueberries.
Transfer mixture to 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish.

Mix flour, walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt
and remaining 6 T. sugar in large bowl to blend.
Gradually add cooled melted butter, mixing
with fork until small moist clumps form. Sprinkle
streusel over berries. Bake until topping is crisp
and golden and filling is bubbling, about 45 minutes.
Cool slightly. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Cold Blueberry Soup (click here for recipe)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Wojenski, a freelance  writer, is owner of Hors D’
Oeuvres Unlimited, a catering service based in Keene, New Hampshire.  To contact her,
drop her a line at
jwojenski@ne.rr.com
Maine Blueberries
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
Want to know the best
places in Maine to pick
your own blueberries?
Click here!
©The Heart of New England online magazine
...celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont!
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