the town where i live, traverse city, is surrounded by an incredible amount of farmland, much of it orchards and other fruit farms. so while we have a wonderful supply of veggies at market, there is also an abundance of fruit -- particularly stone fruits and of course plenty of berries. last summer, daniel and i purchased our first ever chest freezer and started putting away the bounty, thinking joyfully about having local fruit through the entire winter. i would leave the market twice a week with both panniers (bike bags) loaded with what we needed for meals plus whatever fruit would fit.
after a summer of markets, we had over 50 pounds of blueberries, maybe 20 quarts of sweet black cherries, a flat plus some of strawberries, two gallons of raspberries, 4 or so gallons of peach slices, and some other little surprises (like pesto!). plus of course the canned goods. i couldn't help but think we had a serious food hoarding problem.
but now, it's april - the outdoor farmers market starts again in just a few weeks, and we've had an incredible winter of smoothies, crisps, and other fruit treats. AND, we only have a few gallon bags of fruit left - i guess we didn't go totally over the top after all!
first of all, if i've learned anything about freezing fruit in northern michigan -- it would be to always always always freeze pitted sweet cherries. it's worth the splatter of black cherry juice all over your kitchen from an afternoon of pitting when you take your first sip of an almond cherry vanilla smoothie (or with chocolate!). Recipes for those coming soon, I promise!
but for now, one of my favorite reminders of summer during the depths of winter - blueberry crisp. this dessert is delicious and easy to throw together with things around the house (so long as you have a freezer full of blueberries).
3/4 cup cane sugar
3 Tbsp white flour
7 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
3 Tbsp lime juice
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (4oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1in cubes
1 1/2 cups thick rolled oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
pinch of sea salt
in a small bowl, mix together the cane sugar and white flour.
place blueberries in a 9x13 baking dish and sprinkle sugar mixture and lime juice over top. stir until well combined, then spread evenly in dish.
combine whole wheat pastry flour, brown sugar, oats, and spices in medium mixing bowl (i like to do this with a whisk). add butter cubes and work into flour mixture with hands until it is well combined and resembles a course meal. this is most easily done by rubbing the ingredients between your thumb and fingers.
sprinkle this mixture evenly over the berries.
bake at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes, or until topping has turned golden brown and blueberries are bubbling up through the topping in places.
let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. this dish is great warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. it's also great on it's own at room temperature (for dessert or breakfast...).