Most of you know by now that I have an obsessions with fresh foods. But in my mind...my love for blueberries are in a category of their own. Maybe it is because I just love picking them so much. They make me feel domestic and healthy. I just love pulling up to the blueberry farm, gathering a few buckets and heading out to the full beautiful bushes. It is always more wonderful in my head before I get there, and then like 20 minutes into intense picking I remember how hard it to get pick like 10 pounds in a few hours. Each berry is picked with love and dropped with a plop in your bucket... in the beginning you feel the accomplishment with each "ping... ting" of the sound of berries dropping in, but then it always takes much longer than you think to fill that bucket. I always find myself telling my designated pickin' buddy that, "The bucket is almost full," just because I want to feel like I am getting somewhere. And, I also try very hard to put more in my bucket than in my mouth (another added bonus to picking is trying out your bounty as you work).
My husband and I stopped at one of my favorite farms on the way back from our northern Michigan vacation this last week, and I was so excited. And then, I quickly found out that being pregnant in 85 degree-sun-bathing, sweat-dripping heat wasn't going to let me last more than an hour or so. I can usually pick about 5-7 pounds per hour by myself, but with my husband helping we could probably double that. Yet, because I am just moving slower and have less stamina I decided to pace myself and really enjoy it. We ended up with just shy of 10 pounds in an hour and decided that was good enough for the day. In the past I have picked 60-70 pounds to freeze for the winter because of smoothies and baking.
Because blueberries grow so well in Michigan I am able to pick and freeze berries for so much cheaper than buying at any store. So, it is worth it... but this year I may have to either pace myself with a few more outings to the picking farms, or just not set my expectations so high... maybe like 30 pounds in the freezer this year is more realistic. We'll see. But for today, I have lots of fresh berries in the kitchen and decided a hearty muffin was in order to celebrate blueberry season. Fresh berries always make such moist and beautiful muffins, so of course I couldn't resist. I made these muffins specifically nut-free and sugar-free so that my husband could enjoy them. He is going through a special detox diet right now that has many allergy food restrictions as part of the plan. This recipe does have eggs in them, so they are not vegan, but you could easily substitute with an egg replacement or a flax-water mixture as well.
Whole Grain Blueberry Muffin Recipe
1 1/2 cup of gluten-free oat flour, from Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Oats (grind gluten-free oats in your coffee grinder, or food processor to get a hearty flour consistency from the gluten-free oats or if it is possible that you eat gluten-filled oats then you could just use oat flour here or also grinder regular cooking oats).
optional: 1 ts of pure vanilla or lemon zest to add more flavor if you want
2 cups of washed and rinsed fresh blueberries (frozen will work too if that is all you have)
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then add in all the wet ingredients and mix well until everything is combined. Then fold in the blueberries and be careful not to mix to hard because it will start to break up the berries before they are baked and turn your batter blue. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until your muffins are golden brown and are not gooey in the middle. You can check this with a toothpick to be sure. Then make sure to let these cool and settle just a bit before eating because then they will be less crumbly. They are perfect just warm from the oven.
It is so satisfying and fulfilling to eat blueberries muffins from your own labor. Well worth all the sweat and work for sure. And, I tend to think fun as well, but you can decide that. If you live in the West or Northern Michigan area and you are looking for a good blueberry farm for picking organic or no-spray berries, let me know and I have a few good ones to recommend. Otherwise, it is always helpful to google some u-pick farms in your area and you may be surprised what you can find close to home. I hope you enjoy the blueberry season for all it's worth, and I am sure there will be more blueberry recipes from me in the coming weeks...you gotta use em while their good ya know.