Berry selection at a farmer’s market in Richmond, British Columbia

I went blueberry picking this week with my mom for the first time in years. There are numerous berry farms about a ten-minute drive from our house in Richmond, British Columbia. When I was in high school, we were leasing a house not far from where we live now that had three large blueberry bushes in the backyard. I used to spend hours in the summer months collecting the blueberries once they had ripened. We would freeze bags of them in our large deep freezer and pull them out throughout the year to bake muffins and cakes. I also love eating blueberries on their own, either fresh or frozen.

 
Me picking blueberries

The rain and cloudy weather this year has delayed the peak of blueberry season, which usually happens in July. This year, blueberry-picking season is likely to peak in early August, according to the owner of the farm we visited. Nonetheless, we were able to collect about one and a half kilograms of big, plump, sweet berries. How better to enjoy fresh blueberries than in big blueberry muffins? I share a great recipe below.

While we’re on the subject of delicious muffins, I also have to share a fabulous cherry bran muffin recipe that I tried last week after a neighbour gave us a basket full of fresh dark red cherries picked from a tree in his back yard. I replaced raisins with cherries in a recipe I found on Allrecipes.com. The muffins are incredibly soft and moist, and so healthy and delicious. Really great for breakfast.

Enjoy these great summer-time treats!

FRESH BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla powder or vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries

Optional topping

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2  teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 200 degrees C. Line muffin tin with muffin liners.

COMBINE flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

BEAT butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Combine eggs and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk with a fork. Add egg mixture to butter and sugar and beat until smooth. Add flour mixture to the large bowl and mix well. Add milk and combine until smooth. Fold in blueberries.

To make crumb topping, mix sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon until well-combined.

FILL muffin cups. Sprinkle the mixture over the muffins. For larger muffins, fill the tins to the brim.

Bake for about 20 minutes in oven until done.

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MOIST CHERRY BRAN MUFFINS

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups wheat bran
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup diced cherries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
  2. Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk; let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Beat together oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and add to buttermilk/bran mixture. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended. Fold in cherries and spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

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