Tag Archives: High-bush blueberries

Blueberry Lemonade Recipe

Lemonade
Blueberry Lemonade

Lemonade is a wonderful refreshing drink on a hot summer’s day.  Sometimes I like just plain old-fashioned lemonade and, other times, I like to flavor it using whatever berries are currently in season.  My latest lemonade creation uses high bush blueberries to make blueberry lemonade concentrate.  Fill a glass about one third full of the concentrate and top it up with lemon-lime soda for a tasty drink. You can, of course, top up the concentrate with lemon-flavored sparkling water instead of the soda.

Lemonade
Blueberry Lemonade

This recipe begins with a simple syrup which is infused with freshly squeezed lemon juice, grated lemon rind, and blueberry purée.

I am sometimes asked if it is necessary to use a simple syrup when making lemonade.  In my view, it is essential and here is why.  Ever try dissolving sugar in cold liquid?  If you have, then you know the difficulty in getting the sugar to completely dissolve. Stir, stir, stir or shake, shake, shake and the sugar just does not want to completely dissolve and the mixture will appear cloudy. This is because sugar is not very soluble in cold liquid.  At some point, you may have experienced a drink that had a nasty gritty sugar taste and texture and you may have noticed some undissolved sugar that fell  to the bottom of the glass.  This would have been the result of sugar mixed with cold liquid.

Lemonade is meant to be a bit tart but it does need some sugar to sweeten it a bit.  So, how do you get the sugar successfully incorporated into the lemonade?  It’s simple – you make a simple syrup. And, it’s called simple for a reason.

Simple syrup is nothing more than water and sugar heated until the sugar is perfectly dissolved.  There are various formulas for simple syrup, depending on how thick you want the syrup and for what purpose it will be used. I tend to use 3/4 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water for simple syrups for beverages.  My preference is to use super-fine sugar (aka caster sugar) because its fine texture means it dissolves easier than standard granulated sugar. Simply combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat over medium heat to the boiling point, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved.  Let the syrup boil gently for about 3-4 minutes, reducing the heat if necessary so the mixture does not boil too rapidly.  Don’t boil the mixture rapidly or leave the liquid on the heat too long because you’ll lose some to evaporation.  Remove the liquid from the heat and let it cool for about 30-40 minutes before adding any additional ingredients such as lemon juice, lemon rind, or puréed berries. Easy-peasy! And, you will have a much more refined drink that has a smooth, silky, velvet-like finish than you will get by trying to dissolve the sugar in cold water. It’s all about the quality in the end result.

Lemonade
Blueberry Lemonade

I used about 6 oz of high bush blueberries (the really nice big berries like the ones in the photo below) for this recipe and, with my potato masher, I loosely broke up the berries.

Blueberries
High Bush Blueberries

By gently mashing the berries, their juices get released quicker when they are heated. The  berries were combined with 2/3 cup of water and cooked over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, just until they were softened and their juices were extracted.  The mixture was cooled for about 30 minutes then puréed with an immersion blender.  I added the blueberries, lemon juice, and lemon rind to the cooled simple syrup and let it sit for a couple of hours so the flavors would infuse the syrup.

To get the smooth liquid,  strain the cooled mixture through a very fine mesh sieve twice to remove the pulp.

This concentrate will keep in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for three to four days.

Lemonade
Blueberry Lemonade

[printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Blueberry Lemonade

Ingredients:
1 cup water
¾ cup super-fine sugar (aka caster sugar)

½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 – 2 tbsp grated lemon rind

6 oz high bush blueberries
2/3 cup water

Method:

For the simple syrup:  In small saucepan, combine the water and sugar together.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved.  Reduce heat slightly and boil gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature (apx. 30-40 minutes).

For the blueberry purée: In pie plate, gently mash the berries with a potato masher to release their juices.  Combine the berries and 2/3 cup water in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until berries are softened and the mixture is quite juicy.  Remove from heat and cool for about 30 minutes. Purée the berry mixture in a blender or with an immersion blender.

For the lemonade concentrate: Add the lemon juice, lemon rind, and puréed berry mixture to the cooled simple syrup.  Stir well to fully combine the ingredients.  Let mixture stand for at least an hour (or up to three hours) to allow the flavors to blend.  Strain mixture twice through a fine mesh sieve to remove the pulp.  Discard the pulp and pour concentrate into a bottle.  Cover tightly and store in refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

To serve:  Fill a glass approximately one-third full of lemonade concentrate.  Top up with lemon-lime soda or lemon-flavored sparkling water.  Add ice cubes. Garnish with a lemon wheel, a sprig of lemon balm, and fresh blueberries, if desired.

Yield:  Approximately 2 cups concentrate

Lemonade
Blueberry Lemonade

 

Blueberry Lemonade

Yield: Apx. 2 cups concentrate

This lemonade combines two complementary flavors to make a delightfully tasty and refreshing drink for a hot summer's day.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup super-fine sugar (aka caster sugar)
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 – 2 tbsp grated lemon rind
  • 6 oz high bush blueberries
  • 2/3 cup water

Instructions

  1. For the simple syrup: In small saucepan, combine the water and sugar together. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved. Reduce heat slightly and boil gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature (apx. 30-40 minutes).
  2. For the blueberry purée: In pie plate, gently mash the berries with a potato masher to release their juices. Combine the berries and 2/3 cup water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until berries are softened and the mixture is quite juicy. Remove from heat and cool for about 30 minutes. Purée the berry mixture in a blender or with an immersion blender.
  3. For the lemonade concentrate: Add the lemon juice, lemon rind, and puréed berry mixture to the cooled simple syrup. Stir well to fully combine the ingredients. Let mixture stand for at least an hour (or up to three hours) to allow the flavors to blend. Strain mixture twice through a fine mesh sieve to remove the pulp. Discard the pulp and pour concentrate into a bottle. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  4. To serve: Fill a glass approximately one-third full of lemonade concentrate. Top up with lemon-lime soda or lemon-flavored sparkling water. Add ice cubes. Garnish with a lemon wheel, a sprig of lemon balm, and fresh blueberries, if desired.
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Lemonade
Blueberry Lemonade

Blueberry and Grand Marnier Jam Recipe

Blueberry Jam
Blueberry and Grand Marnier Jam

On my stove today was blueberry jam….but not just any jam…Blueberry AND Grand Marnier Jam!  Blueberry and orange are a great flavor combo so why not add a little kick to the jam by adding an orange-flavored liqueur. This does add a level of richness and flavor complexity to the jam.

Blueberry Jam
Blueberry and Grand Marnier Jam

My berries came from the Tryon Blueberries U-pick in North Tryon, PEI.  These are high bush blueberries and picking them is quick and easy since the vines are loaded with large flavorful berries. No need to get down on the hands and knees to pick these blueberries!

High Bush Blueberries
Tryon Blueberries U-pick Field
Blueberries
High Bush Blueberries

It takes probably no more than 10-15 minutes to pick a 5-pound box or bowlful and that’s generally from only 4-5 bushes.

This is an easy jam to make. I do use liquid pectin in the jam which gives it a soft set.  I find blueberry jam takes forever to cook and thicken if I don’t use pectin.  This is still a soft consistency jam that spreads easily and it is jam packed full of summer flavor!

Blueberry Jam
Blueberry and Grand Marnier Jam

The berries need to be slightly crushed so that their juices get released quickly as this jam does not cook long.  Only crush a few berries at a time, using a potato masher, and make sure they are in single layers as you crush them so that each berry gets broken open.  There is no need to purée them as the idea is for the jam to still have some texture to it and not be completely smooth like a jelly.

Adding a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon rind provides an additional flavor boost to the jam.

Blueberry Jam
Blueberry and Grand Marnier Jam

This is a super easy and quick jam to make. It is especially good on biscuits, scones, and toast.  It’s also quite delightful dolloped on top of custard or Greek yogurt for a simple and quick dessert.

Jam and Biscuits
Blueberry and Grand Marnier Jam on Biscuits

[a printable version of recipe follows at end of post]

Blueberry and Grand Marnier Jam

Ingredients:
4 cups crushed high bush blueberries (apx. 2 lbs)
3¼ cups granulated sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 – 85ml pouch Certo liquid pectin
¼ cup Grand Marnier liqueur

Method:
Wash berries.  Using a potato masher, lightly crush berries to release their juice, mashing about one cup at a time, single layer.

In bowl, mix sugar and spices together.  Stir in lemon rind.

Place crushed berries in large pot.  Add the sugar-spice mixture and lemon juice. Stir well and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring to prevent scorching. Once boiling, boil hard for 1 minute, stirring continuously.  Remove from heat and add the pouch of liquid pectin along with the Grand Marnier liqueur.  Stir for 5 minutes, skimming off any foam that may form.  Ladle into hot sterilized jars, filling to about ¼” from the top of each jar. Wipe each jar top. Cover jars with heated lids and screw on bands fingertip tight.  Store jam in refrigerator or cold room. For greater longevity, process in a hot water bath, following canner manufacturer’s directions.

Yield:  Apx. 7 half-pint jars

Blueberry and Grand Marnier Jam

Yield: Apx. 7 - 1/2-pint jars

A quick and easy-to-make jam that is flavored with spices and Grand Marnier liqueur

Ingredients

  • 4 cups crushed high bush blueberries (apx. 2 lbs)
  • 3¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 - 85ml pouch Certo liquid pectin
  • ¼ cup Grand Marnier liqueur

Instructions

  1. Wash berries. Using a potato masher, lightly crush berries to release their juice, mashing about one cup at a time, single layer.
  2. In bowl, mix sugar and spices together. Stir in lemon rind.
  3. Place crushed berries in large pot. Add the sugar-spice mixture and lemon juice. Stir well and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring to prevent scorching. Once boiling, boil hard for 1 minute, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and add the pouch of liquid pectin along with the Grand Marnier liqueur. Stir for 5 minutes, skimming off any foam that may form. Ladle into hot sterilized jars, filling to about ¼” from the top of each jar. Wipe each jar top. Cover each jar with heated lids and screw on bands fingertip tight. Store jam in refrigerator or cold room. For greater longevity, process in a hot water bath, following canner manufacturer’s directions.
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Blueberry Jam
Blueberry and Grand Marnier Jam

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins
Blueberry Muffins

I recently discovered a high-bush blueberry U-pick in Tryon, PEI.  These are so easy to pick and the bushes were just laden with these huge plump blueberries.

High-bush PEI Blueberries from the Tryon Blueberry U-Pick
High-bush PEI Blueberries from the Tryon Blueberry U-Pick

Grower, Jennifer Murray, says she has five varieties of these tasty blueberries growing in this field.

High-bush Blueberry Field in Tryon, PEI
High-bush Blueberry Field in Tryon, PEI

Unlike their tiny wild blueberry counterparts that grow low to the ground, these are easy and clean picking – no blueberry-stained fingers.  I have been back to their field twice since they opened just last week.

It took mere minutes for us to pick these blueberries!

I love these berries in a bowl with sugar and milk, on top of cereal, waffles, and pancakes.  They are lovely sweet berries.

Today, I am featuring these blueberries in muffins.  I have purposely chosen a light-colored batter that is cake-like in texture so that the blueberries really show up.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

I like the flavor combination of blueberries and orange so I have added some orange juice and finely grated orange rind to the batter.  I used my square muffin tins for these muffins but they would be equally as lovely (and just as tasty!) in traditional round muffin tins.   I do a lot of batch-baking and freezing of muffins and sweet breads to have them ready for weekday coffeebreaks at work.  I split and butter the muffins  before  individually wrapping and storing them in the freezer.  The benefit of these square tins is that I find the muffins pack away easier than the round ones do plus they add variety and interest to appearance of the baked goods.

Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp finely grated orange rind

2 eggs
¾ cup milk
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries, tossed with about 1 tbsp flour

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Sift dry ingredients together into a large bowl.

Stir in the grated orange rind.

Make a well in the centre of the ingredients. Set bowl aside.

In a two-cup measuring cup or small bowl, beat eggs lightly.

Add milk, orange juice, oil, and vanilla. Stir or whisk together well.

Pour wet ingredients into the well in dry ingredients.

Stir just until most of the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Gently fold blueberries into batter.

Do not overmix. This will create a tough muffin and one that has blue batter!

Spoon mixture into greased or paper-lined muffin tins, filling each between ⅔ and ¾ full.

Bake 16-20 minutes or until muffins spring back to a light touch and/or a cake tester inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Yield: 12 muffins

For my gluten-free Blueberry Muffin recipe, click here.

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Blueberry Muffins
Blueberry Muffins