It’s August in Maine — it must be time for wild Maine blueberries. Blueberries thrive in the cool, moist sea air of beautiful Washington County. In the spring, the barrens come to life with a soft green carpet covered with white blossoms. In early August, the barrens turn blue as berries ripen and the harvest begins.
Blueberries keep best refrigerated, unwashed and covered with plastic wrap in a sturdy container. To freeze, place dry berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze, then store in freezer bags.
Blueberries not only taste good but also are good for you. They are high in antioxidants that combat cancer, heart disease and the effects of aging. Blueberries also contain significant amounts of vitamins A and C, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and zinc. They are high in fiber and low in calories.
Blueberries go well will just about any type of food. Use them in
• Cereal or salads.
• Pancakes, waffles or muffins.
• Shakes or smoothies.
• Ice cream, yogurt or other desserts.
• Pie or turnovers.
A favorite treat served in Newfoundland is Blueberry Duff. It is often served as a side dish with a Jiggs dinner — similar to a New England boiled dinner — but can also be cooked on its own and served for dessert.
A duff is a steamed pudding that is most often cooked in a cotton bag. As part of a traditional Jiggs dinner, you would cook it in a big pot along with vegetables and salt beef. As a dessert, it is steamed separately and often served with a brown sugar or rum sauce. Either way, it tastes rich and delicious.
Sift together 2½ cups of flour, ¾ cup sugar and 2 teaspoons baking powder. Add 1 cup of blueberries, ⅓ cup melted butter, ¾ cup milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix it all together with a wooden spoon just until a soft dough is formed. Put the dough into a pudding steamer or a wet heavy cotton pudding bag, tying the bag with a piece of string, leaving about an inch of slack at top to allow the pudding to expand. Boil for approximately 1½ hours. For a little variation, try adding 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and ½ teaspoon of allspice.
This recipe makes 10 servings, each with 240 calories, 4 grams protein, 40 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fat, 1 gram dietary fiber and 60 milligrams sodium.
Georgia Clark-Albert is a registered dietitian who lives in Athens. Read more of her columns and post questions at bangordailynews.com or email her at GeorgiaMaineMSRDCDE@gmail.com.