Blueberry season arrives with a big, sweet splash

July 3, 2013 

Blueberries are finally here, and they are definitely worth the wait.

Whether large ones or smaller varieties, blueberries seem sweeter than in past seasons. The ones we picked in last week's heat are like eating candy they taste so sweet.

Between my daughter and my husband, I am not sure I will even get to make any blueberry jam; they will have eaten them all.

Judy Weller of Bradenton and Willie Faye Williams of Saucier, Miss., share some recipes to put these sweet berries to good use. Weller found her recipe for blueberry jam in one of her mother's old cookbooks, "The American Woman's Cookbook," published in the 1940s.

Williams gave me six recipes, including her son-on-law's favorite pie. I will share some today and more next week.

With tomorrow being July 4, Williams' dessert recipes would be perfect for any backyard party or family gathering. Blueberries add the blue to the red, white and blue party themes.

BLUEBERRY JAM

3-3/4 cups crushed blueberries

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 tablespoon grated lemon rind

8 cups sugar

1 cup liquid pectin

Pick over and wash berries. Crush well and add lemon juice and rind. Add sugar and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil rapidly for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in pectin. Skim and pour into clean, hot glasses. Seal with paraffin at once. Makes 11 (8-ounce) glasses.

-- Submitted by Judy Weller

"This is a recipe my sister gave to me," Williams said. "It is so good. I have made several of these with Splenda instead of sugar, and they turn out good."

BLUEBERRY COBBLER

6 cups washed berries

2- 1/2 cups water

4 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup sugar (I used Splenda)

Mix and cook until thick. Pour in 9-by-12-inch pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Dot with 1 stick margarine and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Crust:

2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

4 tablespoons sugar (again, I used Splenda)

1 teaspoon salt

Mix well and add 6 tablespoons Crisco and 1 cup milk. Mix well again. Use teaspoon to drop in mounds on top of berry mixture. Sprinkle sugar on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Serve with frozen whipped topping or vanilla ice cream or sugar-free vanilla ice cream.

-- Submitted by Willie Faye Williams

BLUEBERRY PIE

1 can condensed milk

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 (8-ounce) carton frozen whipped topping

4 cups washed and drained blueberries

2 ready-made graham cracker pie shells

Mix condensed milk and lemon juice. Add whipped topping and blueberries. Pour into graham cracker pie shells. Chill 1 or 2 hours before eating.

-- Submitted by Willie Faye Williams

"I guess you could call this Blueberry Sin since it is similar to Chocolate Sin," Williams said. "This is my favorite."

BLUEBERRY DESSERTOR BLUEBERRY SIN

1-1/3 cups flour

1 cup chopped pecans

1 stick margarine

Mix and spread in a 9-by-12-inch pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool.

Cream cheese layer:

16 ounces cream cheese

2 cups confectioners' sugar

Combine cream cheese and confectioners' sugar and spread over cooled crust.

Blueberry filling:

2 tablespoons cold water

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup boiling water

In a saucepan, mix cold water, sugar and cornstarch. Add 1 cup boiling water. Cook until thick and clear.

Add:

1- 1/2 pints blueberries

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cook 5 or 10 minutes longer. Spread over cream cheese layer. Top with 1 tub of frozen whipped topping. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

-- Submitted by Willie Faye Williams

More on molasses

Pattie Necaise e-mailed me two molasses recipes that she says are really good.

"The molasses oatmeal bread is nice and has a great flavor," she wrote. "The molasses cookies recipe is one of my first favorite recipes as a new cook."

MOLASSES OATMEAL BREAD

(for bread machine)

1 package yeast (2 teaspoons)

1 cup quick-cooking oats

3 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup molasses

1 tablespoon oil (I use canola)

1-1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water

Place all in your bread machine. Set on the white bread setting. Let the machine take over.

For manual method: You could do this manually, letting the yeast rise in the warm water.

Add the other ingredients with flour, at the last, kneading it in. Let rise until almost double and place in greased loaf pans (I'm thinking two pans) for the last rising.

Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Ovens vary. Check your bread after 30 to 35 minutes to make sure of the cooking time.

-- Submitted by Pattie Necaise

MOLASSES COOKIES

3/4 cup shortening

1 cup sugar (plus some to roll the dough balls in)

1 egg

1/4 cup molasses

2 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon each: soda and baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon each: ginger and cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon each: cloves and allspice

Cream shortening and sugar. Add egg and molasses. Mix well. Mix dry ingredients together. Add about1/4 of that at a time to the creamed mix, mixing well after each addition. Chill 1 hour.

Roll into 1-inch balls. Roll them in sugar to coat. (I like to roll just the top side of the ball in sugar. If the sugar is also on the bottom, it makes it stick to the cookie sheet a bit. Or, do like you do with sugar cookies or snickerdoodles and dip the glass in sugar each time you press the top to put sugar just on the top.) Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press down slightly with the bottom of a drinking glass.

Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 9 to 11 minutes. Cool on rack.

-- Submitted by Pattie Necaise

Tomato preserves

"My grandmother made this recipe for tomato preserves," said Elaine Cochran of Bradenton. "Does anyone have a recipe for it?"

Readers, I know some of you old-time cooks have a tomato preserves recipe. Please send the recipes to me either by mail or email.

Coming next week

Of course, there will be more blueberry recipes, and a great fresh peach pudding from Virginia L. Archambault of Palmetto.

Andrea Yeager, who can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net, takes contributions or requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.

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