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COOK OF THE WEEK - BLUEBERRY MONTH

July was proclaimed National Blueberry Month by the United States Department of Agriculture on May 8, 1999. Blueberries are grown in 35 states in the U.S., and the United States produces over 90 percent of all of the blueberries in the world. They have been used in soups, stews and more, for centuries. According to Ark-La-Tex, the Native Americans taught the pilgrims to use blueberries in many ways. Blueberries were dried in the sun and ground into a powder. The powder was used to make a pudding called Sautauthig, which would be similar to corn meal blueberry mush. This powder was also used to season meat as a “spice rub.”
Our Native Americans believed that these little blue berries were good for your health. Modern medicine also identifies the health benefits of blueberries.
Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, which are supposed to help reduce your chance of getting cancer and heart disease. Out of 40 different fruits, juices and vegetables, the blueberry comes in with the highest antioxidant level, according to the North American Blueberry Council. Just three and a half ounces of blueberries are equivalent to over 1700 IU’s of Vitamin E.
According to the North American Blueberry Council, you should not wash your blueberries before you freeze them. If you buy the berries in a pint box, simply wrap the box tightly in cellophane to make it airtight, or slip it into a plastic zip top bag squeezing out as much air as possible. Then freeze. If you buy the berries in bulk, freeze them on a cookie sheet first and then transfer them into a freezer container. Keep frozen until ready to use.
So now that you know a bit of history about blueberries and how to store extra if you buy in great bulk, enjoy any or all of the following recipes provided here for you. Here’s to your good health!

Red, White and Blueberry Salad
1 pint strawberries, hulled and
quartered
1 pint blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 bananas
Mix the strawberries and blueberries together in a bowl, sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice, and toss lightly. Refrigerate until cold, at least 30 minutes. About 30 minutes before serving, cut the bananas into 3/4-inch thick slices, and toss with the berries.

Blueberry Salad
2 small packages raspberry
Jell-O (you may use sugar
free)
1 can blueberry pie filling
1 (8 or 12 ounce) carton Cool
Whip
8 ounces cream cheese (you may
use fat free or Neuchatel)
2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Dissolve 1 package Jell-O in 1 cup boiling water. Stir in blueberry pie filling. Pour into a 9 x 13 inch pan. Put in refrigerator. Dissolve 1 package Jell-O in 1 cup boiling water and cool. Mix powdered sugar and cream cheese and whip well. Stir in softened Cool Whip. Blend into cooled Jell-O and pour over blueberry layer and chill.

Blueberry Scones
2 cups self-rising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 stick or 4 tablespoons butter
or margarine, softened
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup blueberries
2/3 cup walnut pieces
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and whipping cream. Add to the flour mixture. Mix until it becomes a dough.
Fold in blueberries and nuts. Spread dough on a floured surface and pat or roll out in medium sized squares about 1 inch thick. Cut squares into triangles. (I use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into triangles). Spray a baking sheet and place scones on sheet where they don’t touch each other.
Brush the tops with melted butter and bake in 425-degree oven 20 to 25 minutes. Makes about 12 scones depending on the size you cut your triangles. Serve with your favorite jam, jelly, butter, syrup or topping. We like them with the topping recipe below drizzled over the scones. Enjoy!
Topping for Scones:
1 cup confectionery sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3 or 4 tablespoons milk
Whisk together in a bowl and drizzle over scones.

Slow Cooker Blueberry
Cobbler
21 ounces blueberry pie filling
9 ounce package yellow cake
mix
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted
Place pie filling in a greased 1-1/2 quart slow cooker. Sprinkle with cake mix and pecans. Drizzle with butter. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream if desired. Serves 6.

Blueberry Muffins
3 cups flour (may use whole
wheat pastry flour instead of
white flour)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups blueberries, fresh OR
frozen
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling on
top (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Work in the softened butter with an electric mixer or fork. Blend in the eggs, milk, and vanilla until all ingredients are mixed well, but do not overbeat. Gently fold in the blueberries.
Scoop batter into greased muffin tins or cupcake papers, filling each cup about 3/4 full. You should get 16 to 18 muffins out of this batter. If desired, sprinkle the top of each muffin with coarse sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until muffins just test done with a toothpick, taking care not to over bake. Remove muffins from pans and cool on a wire rack, or eat warm out of the oven with a pat of salted butter.

Best Blueberry Crisp
1 quart fresh blueberries or more
if desired
3/4 cup sugar or to your taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
3/4 cup regular oats
1 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 11x7 inch baking dish (or can use a 9 x 13 inch pan but it won’t be as high). Spread the blueberries in the bottom of the prepared baking pan. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, cornstarch, water and lemon juice; cook and stir until thick and clear, then add the vanilla. Pour over the blueberries; then gently stir.
In a bowl combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Add the melted butter; mix until crumbly. Sprinkle over the blueberries. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until blueberry mixture bubbles and the topping is brown. May be served with cool whip or ice cream.

Blueberry Freezer Jam
4 cups white sugar
2 cups crushed blueberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-ounce package powdered fruit
pectin
Stir blueberries and sugar together in a bowl; let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir lemon juice and pectin together in a separate small bowl; add to blueberry mixture. Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy, about 3 minutes.
Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pack the blueberry jam into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/2 inch from the top. Run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles.
Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food spills. Top with lids, and screw on rings. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours until set. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to one year. Thaw in refrigerator.

Blueberry-Rhubarb Freezer Jam
5 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1
inch pieces
1 cup water
5 cups sugar
6-ounce box raspberry Jell-O
21 ounce can blueberry pie
filling (cherry or strawberry
pie filling could also be used)
Put rhubarb and water in 2 quart saucepan or small stock pot. Cook over medium heat until the rhubarb is very soft. Add the sugar and pie filling, cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add Jell-O. Stir until dissolved. Divide into plastic or glass containers. Cool. Refrigerate or freeze.

Blueberry Pie
Use your favorite piecrust recipe or use 2 ready-made piecrusts.
Filling:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, if
desired
6 cups blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, mix sugar, 1/2 cup flour and the cinnamon. Stir in blueberries. Spoon into pastry-lined pie plate. Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over blueberry mixture. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Cut butter into small pieces, sprinkle over blueberries. Cover with top pastry crust that has slits cut in it; seal and flute.
Cover edge with 2 to 3 inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning of crust. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours.

Blueberry-Yogurt Bread
(2) 1/4-ounce packages active
dry yeast (2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup warm water (110
degrees)
1/3 cup sugar
8-ounce carton blueberry
flavored yogurt, room
temperature
2 cups fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-1/2 tablespoons freshly grated
orange peel
3-3/4 to 4-1/4 cups all-purpose
or bread flour
1 tablespoon melted butter
In large bowl of electric mixer, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add sugar, yogurt, 1 cup blueberries, 3 tablespoons melted butter, salt, nutmeg, orange peel and 1-1/2 to 2 cups flour.
Beat at medium speed with electric mixer 4 minutes or beat 400 vigorous strokes by hand. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a stiff batter. Gently fold remaining 1 cup blueberries into batter. Cover with a slightly damp towel.
Let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 or 2 hours. Grease two (8 x 4 inch) loaf pans, set aside. Stir down batter. Turn into prepared pans. Butter your fingers and a 12-inch square of waxed paper. Smooth batter with your buttered fingers.
Cover with buttered waxed paper. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped on top. For browner bottom crusts, remove from pans. Place directly on oven rack during final 5 minutes of baking. Brush melted butter over tops. Cool on racks. Makes 2 loaves.

Blueberry-Honey Coffee Cake
Blueberry Topping:
2 cups blueberries, fresh or
frozen
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Blueberry Cake:
1-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch round cake pan. Toss blueberries with flour and place in the bottom of the greased pan. Drizzle with the honey and lemon juice. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine honey, eggs, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla; whisk together until well combined. Add flour mixture and mix well. Stir in melted butter until combined. Pour batter over blueberries in pan; spread to cover evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto large plate; cool slightly. Serve while still warm or cool completely.

BLUEBERRY-CHERRY PORK DRY RUB
This rub is intended for low and slow cooking only, as the natural sugars in the fruits will scorch quickly with high-heat cooking.
4 tablespoons dried whole
blueberries, ground
3 tablespoons dried tart cherries,
ground
3 tablespoons dried diced red
bell pepper
3 tablespoons dried chopped
onion
2 tablespoons dried minced
garlic
1-1/2 tablespoons black
peppercorn
1 tablespoons ground white
pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoons Spanish paprika
1 tablespoon rosemary
2-1/2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, then portion 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons into your blade-type (coffee) grinder at a time. Use less if the grinder stalls/jams. Grind to near your desired particle size and place in a second container until all ingredients are ground, then repeat grinding for smaller particle size, if desired, and to aid in blending the dry rub for the best consistency.
Note 1: Grinding the dry ingredients with the fruits will aid in preventing the fruits from forming a paste and stalling your grinder, as well as making for much easier cleanup. This is a very effective method for grinding dried fruits. The only draw-back to grinding all ingredients together is if you want larger particle sizes with certain spices but not others, although some of them could be ground separately, if desired, such as the Kosher Salt.
Note 2: This particular recipe tends to clump soon after blending if tumbled in the container, so a regrind may be necessary prior to application onto your pork. This is due to the sugars in the fruits and is normal. Application with a shaker container may give the easiest results. Do not compress this mixture until it is on your meat, or it will pack to a very firm consistency, making a re-grind difficult.

If you are reading this, then you probably enjoy new recipes. If you would like to share some of your recipes with the community YOU could be Cook of the Week. Please contact me, Sally Cuthbertson, if you would like to be in this column some week. I can be reached by my cellphone at 515-368-3650 or email me at sacuthbe@msn.com.
I will be happy to email or send you my short questionnaire and set up a time to come and visit you at your convenience. I’m always looking for NEW Cook’s of the Week. Also, if you are new in town, this is a good way to introduce yourself to the Humboldt community and surrounding communities. I look forward to visiting with you.
The COOK OF THE WEEK 3rd Edition Cookbook is available. Cost per copy is $10.70, plus $4.80 shipping/handling. Order a copy today by sending a check or money order, along with name and shipping address, to: Humboldt Independent, 512 Sumner Ave., Humboldt, IA 50548.