Looking back at some of my older blog posts from the last two years, I noticed that I usually wrote about the long, cold winters I would experience in New England. This year, has been the exception. Our winter has been incredibly mild. In fact, we only received one snowstorm so far that amounted to measurable snow. And, honestly, it wasn’t all that bad and less than a week later the evidence of it happening have almost disappeared completely.
Talk about my kind of winter!
As we are now turning the tide towards Spring, I find myself with more energy and making plans for the warmer months ahead. This is true for both my personal life, but also for the blog.
Spring is one my favorite seasons for baking. Especially late spring. That’s when all the fruit is in-season and their flavors at their peak. Berry muffins, strawberry shortcake, peach pie, and blueberry jamboree make regular appearances in my kitchen.
Strawberries & Blueberries
This year, I have a strong desire to head to one of the local farms and pick my own berries.
I am lucky that I live in an area where this is an option. I haven’t been picking there since I was a child, so I think it’s time I returned to the fields. Now that I am able to reap a reward from the labor involved, it’ll be even more meaningful and special.
I love both strawberries and blueberries because there is so much you can do with them! They make excellent jams, bake up beautifully in batters, and can be eaten fresh on top some yogurt or even ice cream. Plus, there’s nothing like the taste of spring and summer. While it’s true, the real flavor doesn’t last very long, that is also part of the magic of nature. We can enjoy these tasty fruits for such a short period of time that it gives us something to look forward to the following year.
I cannot wait to try making my own strawberry shortcake recipe with these wonderful fruits. Blueberry Tea Bread used to be a staple in my household when I was a kid. I especially loved the slightly moist top of the loaf, for some reason it was my favorite part. This year, I am working on my own version of that recipe that will really make the flavors pop.
I’m looking forward to playing with wonderful gifts from nature in the coming months.
Tips for Baking with Blueberries, Strawberries, and Other Berries
Sometimes, baking with fruit can be tricky. Depending on the type of fruit you have, they don’t always bake up very well. But, you can use these tips to help make your baking even better.
- Wash and Dry the Fruit First: After coming home from the farm fields, farmer’s market, or grocery store, always give your fruit a quick rinse. Then, if baking right away, make sure you dry the berries really well. But do so gently! You don’t want to bruise them (especially true for blueberries, which can burst).
- Coat in Flour: For recipes that require the fruit to be baked inside of the batter, such as making blueberry muffins or scones, it’s best to coat the berries used in a tablespoon of flour. This will help prevent the berries from sinking to the bottom of the pan while it’s in the oven.
- Chop Certain Berries Small: For strawberries, make sure you diced them up. This way, they can be added to almost any type of batter. Leaving them whole wouldn’t work the same way, and can cause problems while baking. For berries like raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, you don’t need to cut them up.
- Don’t be Afraid to Put Them on Top: Berries shouldn’t be limited to just being baked inside a batter. Don’t hesitate to decorate the top of a cake, like a coffee cake (like this one from the Magnolia Bakery). This will still give the batter a hint of the fruit flavor while also giving the finished cake an interesting appeal. Plus it makes the baked good look really fancy!
Is spring here yet!? Sadly, it isn’t. But I can’t wait until I can bake with these little delicious gems this year. Plus, I’m working on some original recipe contents using strawberries and blueberries as the star ingredient! I can’t wait to share the recipes with you.