The blueberry is a round, dark blue berry that grows wild in many parts of the world, including the British Isles, Russia and North and South America. The berries were not cultivated, however, until the early 20th century. Cultivated berries are slightly larger than their wild cousins.
Blueberries are marketed fresh, frozen or canned. Fresh berries are usually available from May to September.Choose firm, plump berries with a silvery bloom; they should not have stems attached. Avoid juice-stained containers and soft berries.
Refrigerate blueberries for up to two weeks; wash just before using and discard any that look moldy or spoiled.
To freeze fresh berries, do not wash. Dry, thoroughly repack in cardboard container and wrap tightly with plastic wrap, covering holes in container. Frozen berries will keep at least a year.
In the following recipe for double blueberry shortcakes, the berries are baked right into the batter. Be sure to wash the blueberries before using.
DOUBLE BLUEBERRY SHORTCAKES
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
6 Blueberry Biscuits (recipe below)
1/2 cup heavy cream
For the blueberry sauce: In a medium saucepan combine 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla extract, the salt and cinnamon. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until boiling; boil and stir about 1 minute longer.
Stir in blueberries; cook until blueberries are glazed, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl; refrigerate covered, until cold, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make Blueberry Biscuits.
To serve: In a small deep bowl beat the heavy cream, the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract until stiff peaks form; set aside.
Cut 6 blueberry biscuits horizontally in half. On 6 serving plates place the bottom halves of the biscuits; top each with rounded 1/3 cup blueberry sauce and 2 1/2 tablespoons whipped cream. Cover with muffin tops. Makes 6 servings.
For the Blueberry Biscuits: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a medium bowl combine 2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut 1/3 cup butter into flour mixture until butter resembles small peas. Stir in 3/4 cup milk, just until blended. Add 1/2 cup fresh "hard" blueberries, stirring until just combined. On a lightly floured work surface, pat or roll dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Using a 21/2-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits, repatting scraps to cut additional biscuits. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart; bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer biscuits to wire rack to cool.
From: North American Blueberry Council