- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 1, 2003

If you’re looking for patriotic dishes for weekend celebrations, make sure you have plenty of blueberries on hand.

We stock up on beautiful blues this month, courtesy of self-pick farms and farmers markets that offer freshly harvested berries at cheaper prices.

If you bring home too many blueberries, take the advice of one of my savvy neighbors. She never washes berries until right before using.

That way she can place berries on baking sheets and freeze them dry (not soggy with water from a rinse).



They freeze separately and when solid can be stored in self-sealing freezer bags.

After thawing, wash the berries carefully and use by the cupfuls or handfuls, whatever your pancakes or dessert recipes require.

Whether your blueberries are fresh or frozen, you’ll enjoy the following Fourth of July recipes that celebrate red, white and especially blue.

Fruit topping for pancakes

Try this easy blueberry topping for any kind of pancake or French toast.

2 cups blueberries

cup apple juice

2 cups sliced strawberries

1 banana, thinly sliced

cup maple syrup

Cinnamon

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup blueberries and apple juice.

Bring to boil and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until berries are very soft.

Remove from heat and stir in remaining blueberries and strawberries, banana slices, maple syrup and a pinch of cinnamon. Serve warm. Makes 6 servings.

Summer fruit bread

Here’s a good quick bread that uses two favorite midsummer fruits.

2 cups unbleached flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

teaspoon baking soda

teaspoon salt

cup butter

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup fresh raspberries

2 eggs

cup buttermilk

3/4 cup maple syrup

Nutmeg

In large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add blueberries and raspberries and stir to coat with flour mixture.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs, buttermilk, maple syrup and a dash of nutmeg.

Combine contents of two bowls, mixing just until incorporated. Batter will be stiff. Spoon into lightly oiled and floured 2-quart loaf pan and smooth top of batter with rubber spatula.

Bake in middle of 350-degree oven 1 hour, or until loaf is well-risen with golden brown crust and tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Insert metal spatula or knife along sides and carefully remove bread from pan.

Place on rack to cool 20 minutes before serving.

Makes 1 loaf serving about 15.

Layered Fourth of July parfaits

2 cups strawberries

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups blueberries

3 cups raspberries

1 quart low-fat vanilla ice cream

To make strawberry sauce, combine strawberries, brown sugar and vanilla in a blender.

Puree until smooth.

In four parfait glasses or large wine glasses, layer blueberries, raspberries, ice cream and strawberry sauce. Makes 4 servings.

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