Cat Campbell/For The Madera Tribune
Fresh blueberries are used in some tempting muffins, or use a mixture of several kinds of berries.
This column was inspired the same day it was written, as I realized I had recently purchased more fresh fruit than I could eat. I finished off the mango spears and cantaloupe for breakfast, but still had strawberries, raspberries and blueberries to deal with. What could I make? Being somewhat reluctant to make pie crust, I decided to make a triple berry cobbler.
There are so many ways to use up fresh fruit (besides freezing, drying or canning preserves). I am hoping you will enjoy a lot of fresh fruit this spring and coming summer, and that the following recipes will contribute to that.
Triple berry cobbler
4 cups quartered fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup instant tapioca (I used 3 tablespoons cornstarch)
1 1/2 cups biscuit mix
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup milk, or more as needed
About 1 tablespoon additional sugar to sprinkle over the top, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with nonstick baking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, gently fold together cut strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and tapioca (or cornstarch). Pour fruit mixture into prepared baking dish.
3. For topping, combine biscuit mix and 1 tablespoon sugar. Add 3 tablespoons melted butter and 1/3 cup milk; mix with a fork just until moistened. Drop by spoonfuls over the fruit mixture. Sprinkle with additional granulated sugar for a little extra sparkle, if desired.
4. Place the baking pan on a cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for about 35 minutes, or until the topping is cooked through and golden and strawberries are tender. Lift some of the topping up with a fork to check if it’s done underneath.
Fresh berry muffins
You can use just one kind of fruit if you wish, such as blueberries.
2 1/2 cups flour, to be divided
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 6 teaspoons sugar, divided
1 cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
1 cup fresh blueberries, stemmed
1 cup fresh blackberries, chopped if large
1. Center an oven rack and preheat oven to 400.
2. In a medium bowl, combine all but about 2 tablespoons of flour with the baking powder, salt and 1/2 cup sugar. In another bowl combine milk, eggs, butter and vanilla. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry just until mixed. Sprinkle the remaining flour over berries and toss to coat. Fold berries into batter.
3. Spoon batter into 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining sugar over the top of each muffin. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until muffins are light golden brown. Muffins will not test done with a wooden pick because of the fresh berries. Allow to cool 5 minutes before removing. Serve as desired or remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store muffins in a tin or a glass-sealed container for up to three days. (Plastic will make the muffins sticky.)
Rhubarb berry upside-down cake
2 tablespoons butter
1 3/4 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
2 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon seedless strawberry jam
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup orange juice
1. Preheat oven to 350. Place butter in an 11-by-7-inch baking dish. Place in oven 5 to 6 minutes or until butter is melted; carefully swirl to coat evenly.
2. Place rhubarb, blueberries and cranberries in a bowl; sprinkle with sugar and toss to combine. Transfer to baking dish.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in jam and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk and orange juice, beating well after each addition. Pour over fruit, spreading evenly.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes.
5. Loosen edges of cake from pan with a knife; invert onto a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: If using frozen rhubarb, measure it while frozen, then let it thaw. Drain in a colander but do not press or squeeze the rhubarb.
Salmon with blueberries
You can use frozen blueberries if you prefer (thawed).
1 cup (or more) fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 salmon steaks or fillets (about 6 ounces each)
Oil, salt and freshly ground pepper
1. In a small saucepan, stir together blueberries, vinegar, honey and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over very low heat for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, rinse salmon and pat dry. Brush lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for about 5 minutes on each side over medium heat. When salmon is cooked to your liking, remove from grill and drizzle with the blueberry glaze. Makes 2 servings.