WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

Add blueberries to your diet

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I’m loving the abundance of plump North Carolina blueberries at grocery stores and farm markets right now. I can’t resist buying a pint almost every time I walk by a display!

Even out of season, I purchase berries from other locales, but there’s nothing like the taste of locally-grown blueberries!

I eat them as a snack, with cereal, yogurt and granola. And I love cooking cobblers, muffins and breads with sweet, fresh berries.

There’s more to blueberries than good taste and versatility. Blueberries are often called a “super food” because of their nutritional value.

They contain antioxidants, 4 grams of dietary fiber and boast only 84 calories per cup. And, according the N.C. Blueberry Council, they provide 24 percent of your recommended serving of vitamin C and 36 percent of vitamin K.

If you’re lucky enough to have blueberry bushes in your yard, you probably have an abundance of berries and are freezing them. My parents always froze blueberries for cobblers and muffins, and I have done the same.

Mama always told me not to wash them before freezing, and the N.C. Blueberry Council says the same.

Just remember to rinse and drain before eating, just as you would with fresh berries.

Although I have several favorite breads and cakes I make with blueberries, I’m always eager to try something new. I was looking for something new to cook when I checked out Jessica Robinson’s “A Farmgirl’s Table” from the Wilson County Public Library.

There are plenty of recipes for fresh produce, but I honed in on the blueberry recipes, which included rustic blueberry muffins, lemon-blueberry pound cake and strawberry-blueberry pops. But I decided to bake blueberry-peach coffee cake. Although I really love the combination of peaches and blueberries, I decided to use blueberries only on this time.

This delicious cake is more like a pound cake, I think, and has a wonderful texture. The crumb topping is nice and buttery and adds a flavorful touch.

That being said, the next time I make this recipe, I might add some lemon zest to the batter and drizzle the baked cake with a lemon glaze, made with powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice. I love the combination of blueberries and lemon.

This recipe makes two or three loaves of blueberry coffee cake, depending on the loaf pan size you choose, which makes it nice to share — unless you decide to eat it all!

Blueberry-Peach Coffee Cake

Cookbook author Jessica Robinson suggests substituting different fruits that you prefer or that are in season. I used all blueberries only.

CRUMBLE TOPPING

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup all- purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

CAKE

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups full-fat sour cream

4 cups all- purpose or cake flour (I used cake flour)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup diced fresh peaches*

1 cup fresh blueberries

Place the crumble topping ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with hands until combined. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray three 9-by-15- inch loaf pans with baking spray and set aside.

Cream together the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl using an electric hand mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla and sour cream and combine, occasionally scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the our, bak- ing powder and salt; stir until smooth. Fold in the fruit.

Divide the cake batter evenly among the loaf pans. Sprinkle generously with the crumble topping. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centers of the cakes comes out clean. Let cool slightly in pans then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely before slicing.

“A Farmgirl’s Table”

* Notes: I used 2 cups of blueberries and no peaches. When I made the recipe, I used two 9-by-15-inch loaf pans and baked them around 60 to 65 minutes. (The crumbs do not get very brown.) When my cousin made the recipe, she used three disposable 8-by-3-inch pans. I also didn’t use all of the crumble topping on my two loaves.

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