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Published June 29, 2011, 12:00 AM

Halgrimson: Blueberries quite versatile

Recipes for using blueberries abound, and while the fruit is available all year, the berries are in season from May through October – so there is plenty of time to use them in some of those many recipes.

By: Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, INFORUM

Recipes for using blueberries abound, and while the fruit is available all year, the berries are in season from May through October – so there is plenty of time to use them in some of those many recipes.

While most of the blueberry recipes are for sweets, this lovely fruit can add a depth of flavor to savory recipes, too. They are, indeed, versatile little berries.

Blueberries available in local markets are of the cultivated low-bush variety. Winter blueberries may come from New Zealand and are very pricey.

Look for firm berries of uniform size with a silvery frost. Do not wash them until ready to use but look them over for any bad berries before refrigerating for up to five days.

Since I don’t eat many sweets anymore, I like blueberries stirred into plain yogurt with cereal sprinkled on top for crunch. Or I add them to a tossed green salad with a handful of toasted walnuts and use walnut oil in the vinaigrette sauce.

And I decrease the sugar in any recipe I try.

Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar

2 cups blueberries

2 cups balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

Lime zest cut in strips from 1 lime

In a large, non-reactive saucepan, crush blueberries and add vinegar, sugar and lime. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Cool; pour into a covered container and refrigerate for 2 days to allow flavors to blend.

Place a strainer over a large bowl. Ladle blueberry mixture into strainer in batches, pressing out as much liquid as possible. Discard solids.

Pour vinegar into clean glass bottles; refrigerate, tightly covered. Keeps forever. Use in salad dressings (as below) or drizzled over grilled chicken or beef. Makes 5½ cups.

Blueberry Vinaigrette

¼ cup olive oil

3 tablespoons Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar

½ teaspoon salt

1/8, teaspoon ground black pepper

In a cup, combine olive oil, Blueberry Vinegar, salt and ground black pepper.

Variation: For a creamier dressing stir in 1 tablespoon mayonnaise or plain yogurt. Makes about ½ cup.

Blueberry, Apricot and Sweet Onion Salad

½ cup sweet onion, sliced

½ tablespoon salt

4 tablespoons good olive oil

2 tablespoons blueberry vinegar (see below)

1 cup fresh blueberries

8 pitted fresh apricots, quartered

1 small head soft lettuce (red leaf or Boston) torn in pieces

In a bowl, combine onion and salt and set aside for 2 hours. In a cup, whisk olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the Blueberry Vinegar.

Rinse onion and drain. In a bowl, toss lettuce with half of the blueberry dressing. In the same bowl, combine blueberries, apricots and onion. Toss with the remaining dressing. Makes 4 servings.

Blueberry Vinegar

In a blender container, combine 1 cup blueberries, ½ cup sugar and 2 cups white wine vinegar. Blend until puréed and strain. Refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about 1 cup.

Sources: “The Food Lover’s Companion” by Sharon Tyler Herbst; www.blueberry.org


Readers can reach Forum columnist Andrea Hunter Halgrimson at ahalgrimson@forumcomm.com

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