The Delicious and Beneficial Blueberry!
By Wendy King, Melrose Depot
As one of the few fruits native to North America, this small fruit also packs a big nutritious punch. The early settlers learned about this beautiful berry from Native Americans as a good food source and then brought it back to Europe. It is now cultivated in South America as well, which allows the fruit to be available year-round. Yet only the Northeast area of the US holds the distinction of hosting the low-bush variety that produces the smallest, flavor-packed berries, with Maine taking the leading producer title.
So even when our local farms have finished harvesting, we can still reap the benefits of this incredible indigo fruit from local stores, both imported fresh and frozen. This is a good thing because research completed over the years shows that blueberries are a "superfood" and provide powerful antioxidants to combat a host of issues including memory loss, muscle damage, high sugar levels in the blood and cell damage. And natural food and nutrition medical expert, Dr. Andrew Weil, states on his website, ”you would have to eat five servings of peas, carrots, apples, squash or broccoli to get the antioxidants contained in one half cup of blueberries." So with that encouragement, here is a recipe for blueberry pie. I like this recipe as it holds the juices better and allows one to enjoy the full impact of this amazing berry.
Recipe - Blueberry Pie
(Revised from The Food Network)
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
(adapted from Williams Sonoma)
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1.5 cups shortening or butter
3-4 TBSPs water
Filling: Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and water. Add to a saucepan and heat rapidly just until thickened. Set aside and add the lemon juice and then add the berries.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
For pie crust, Stir together the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening or butter until it resembles cornmeal. Add the water one tablespoon at a time, mixing at each addition just until the dough forms a rough mass. Form into a ball, cut in half and roll out each half between two sheets of wax paper to 12 inches. Unwrap the top piece of wax paper, lay the rolling pin down on the left side and gently roll it onto the rolling pin, flip it into the pie pan, with the wax paper facing up, press gently to fit pan and gently unwrap 2nd piece of wax paper from top.
Pour filling into dough lined pie pan, add top crust, cut in vents and flute or press together the rim. Brush top with a little milk and sprinkle top with sugar. Put pie onto a foil covered baking sheet and into the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy!