Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Found My Thrill on Blueberry Hill

Hethyr:  I have always loved the scene in the original Willa Wonka & the Chocolate Factory movie where Violet chews the gum containing an entire three-course dinner which, according to Wonka, isn’t yet ready for human consumption.  She swells into a giant blueberry and has to be rolled away for the blueberry juice to be extracted so she doesn’t explode.  Freakin’ hilarious.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
with Blueberry-Lemon Syrup
Well, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve gotten to know how Violet felt.  Jon and I bought 40 pints of blueberries during an incredible sale at Whole Foods.  The one-day sale advertised organic blueberries for $1.99 per pint.  Because I’m at Whole Foods at least a few times a week, I know that organic blueberries usually cost between $4.99 and $6.99 per pint, so this was an amazing sale.  Of course, I made Jon tag along so we could carry twice as many.  We managed to just fit 40 into two reusable grocery bags.  Jon thought it was excessive at first, but when I mentioned that even a 12- to 16-ounce bag of frozen berries (which he often uses in smoothies) is usually $3.99, he was sold.  And, as if $1.99 per pint wasn’t great enough, we bought so many that we got the 10% case discount so it ended up being $1.79 per pint.  I was in heaven!

Blueberry-Basil Vinegar:  Day 1
(it takes about 4 weeks)
Over the next few days, I froze most of the blueberries for later use and made several items using fresh berries including the Bluebarb June (my version of the Ruby June with the addition of crushed blueberries), Blueberry-Basil Ice Cream, Blueberry-Basil Vinegar (I’ll be taking this to a swap in the near-future!), Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes with Blueberry-Lemon Syrup and Blueberry-Brandy Reduction (to use on desserts or ice cream... I made this for last Sunday's community swap).  Since then, Jon has been making some variation of a blueberry smoothie nearly every day and I’ve made Blueberry-Banana Bread which we’ll take with us camping this weekend.

One swap participant from last weekend made the following comment on Facebook regarding the Blueberry-Brandy Reduction:  “…last night we had the Blueberry-Brandy Reduction over ice cream and strawberries-so delicious that when I spilled a glob on the kitchen counter I seriously had to stop myself from licking it up.  :)”  That definitely made me smile, although I’m not sure how she resisted – I’m sure I couldn’t have and I probably would’ve been caught in the act by Jon.

A photo from Sunday's
swap by my friend Kat
Blueberry-Brandy Reduction
Makes 1 1/2 cups
  • 4 cups fresh organic blueberries
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Zest from one lemon

1.  In a saucepan, crush blueberries with potato masher. 

2.  Add remaining ingredients, stir well and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cook until reduced by half. 

3.  Cool, then strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove skin, seeds and zest.  Drizzle over ice cream or other desserts.

Blueberry-Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (1/2 teaspoon for high altitude)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.

2.  In a medium bowl, combine first three ingredients.

3.  In a large bowl, combine wet ingredients (butter through lemon juice).

4.  Gradually mix dry ingredients into wet, then carefully fold in blueberries.  Pour into a greased 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan.

5.  Bake for approximately 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.  Slice and serve.
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Hmm... that gigantic banana sure would make
some fine smoov-eez...
Jon:  Remember the show Supermarket Sweep from back in the '80s?  Shoppers would run around the store like crazed lunatics dumping crap into their shopping carts as fast as possible.  I’m not sure that I can even remember the point of the show, but my family and I watched it regularly.  Anyway, that’s the flashback that comes to mind when I think about Hethyr and I ransacking the blueberry counter at Whole Foods last week.  When I brought the bulging bags of berries up to the checker, she glanced in the top of each one and looked at me inquisitively.  I hung my head in embarrassment and sheepishly stated, “There are forty.”

The good news is that we bought so freakin’ many that we got an additional seven bucks off the order due to some sort of bulk purchase policy.  Now we have a bunch of gallon-sized Ziplocs stuffed full of blueberries in our freezer.  But you’re not getting any complaints from me about it.  It guarantees that I’ll have smoothie material for the summer, and that’s a good thing.

Actually, what I make aren’t smoothies, they’re smoov-eez (patent pending).  For those of you who have read this blog before, you may know that I recently received a new ass-kicking blender as a gift.  This upgraded horsepower has improved the quality and frequency of my smoov-ee making.  I’ll post the recipe for the one I made today.  It’s pretty simple, but so am I…

Blueberry-Banana Smoov-eez
Makes 2 servings
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1 cup ice

1.  Add all ingredients and blend.

2.  Drink.


  1. I die! I love, love, love blueberries, and your recipes and ideas sound absolutely heavenly. Yum! Now I just need to find organic blueberries for $1.79 per pint (Ha!). But seriously, I have just enough in the fridge to make a Smoov-eez, and that's exactly what I plan to have for breakfast tomorrow. :-)

    P.S. I hope you know that I'm ruined for life now, as I'll never be able to just say 'smoothie' again.

  2. Ha ha! It's been years since either of us have called it a smoothie - Jon ruined that one for us a long time ago! ;)

  3. We just picked up a gluten free blueberry pie at the Thunder Bay farmer's market... from the same lady that provided my mother-in-law with a GF pecan pie for our Canada Day BBQ... mmmm.... please tell me a GF blueberry pie will be in your upcoming repertoire! As always, I am loving your blog posts, your cleverness, and your genuinely wonderful personalities!!! Keep 'em coming!

  4. Jodie! I just made GF blueberry-rhubarb mini pies in jars (post coming soon!) to take to the last community swap. How funny you should mention it. =)

  5. OH man one of my favorite times of year is blueberry pickin' season...we actually missed out this year but our dear friends saved us a few bags in their freezer! Love love love the fresh blueberries...Neil comes along and helps, but his methods sometimes squish the blueberries as there are many a spiders that live in the bushes, so Neil does a quick swoop into the bucket while my friends' children stand laughing at him! ;)