Rough summer. Stunning blue skies, time in swimming pools, relaxing in Lake Placid, happy kids. And one singular heartache of an epic proportion. About 1100 pounds worth. My beautiful, athletic, feisty off track thoroughbred became very sick. Turned out she had a pre-existing condition that was even too big for her stoic nature and huge heart. I spent July watching her lose her health and vitality.
And here’s a picture:
I know. She’s lovely. Crazy hair and all. This is the face that greeted me for seven years, looking for peppermints and a pat. After losing her, life felt pretty blue. And then a curious thing happened. Cards, letters, friends reaching out and offering support, memories and experiences of a shared loss. It was time to take a deep breath and find life’s rythm again. So I took my two boys and we went on our annual trip to Hurd Orchards for blueberry picking.
Every year we pick about 20 pounds of blueberries. This year we netted only about 9. What to say? We were hot, tired and run down BUT the day did wonders to bring summer back to us.
What do you do with 9-20 lbs. of blueberries?
Freeze them and enjoy them all summer, autumn and winter. Pour them on pancakes, drop them in muffins, mix them in oatmeal, or chomp on the frozen right out of the bag.
Here’s the fun part. I gathered up a list of spices that pair nicely with blueberries so you can play around with their fresh flavor and get a little creative. Some are expected. Others are a delightful surprise.
Blue pairs well with…
Cinnamon. Think coffee cake, muffins, or sprinkled in with apple pie.
Nutmeg. This spice resembles a nutty, earthy version of cinnamon, which pairs well the little blue bombs of sweet-tart flavor.
Mace. If nutmeg is on the list, its lighter more delicate counterpart will be here too.
Ginger. Ginger’s warm bite is the perfect contrast to blueberries.
Cloves. For the same reasons cinnamon and ginger work so well…it just does!
Lemon thyme. Think of a lemon tart sprinkled with lemon thyme. Thyme also brings blueberries into savory zone.
Allspice. Considering allspice is a single spice that tastes like a combination of cloves, pepper and cinnamon–it had to make the list!
Mint. Tart and crisp with a splash of refreshing sweetness. Imagine blueberry lemonade with a hint of real mint on a sultry, summer day.
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 cinnamon stick, approximately 2″ long
- 3 whole cloves
- Dash of salt.
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- Fresh mint
Place first 6 ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boiling point. Boil 1 minute. Pour syrup through a sieve over washed blueberries to strain out spices. Chill. Serve in a sherbet glass for dessert. Garnish with mint.
In case you’re wondering, I’m back in the saddle again, riding a friend’s horse who is doing a good job of keeping me company and increasing my biceps. Life is good. Even if you’re blue.
Speaking of Blue
Set the blueberry mood with the single most beautiful version of Blueberry Hill ever sung. Soothing, peaceful and captivating: what do you think? We have the cd (Breakfast in New Orleans) and it’s perfect cooking music. (There is even a song about a mango tree in the garden.)
About the Photo of Mela
The incredibly talented Kym Pocious of Red Mare Beware photography took a number of pictures. She captured the essence of Mela and I’m extremely grateful to have these images to fuel the memories. Kym’s talents are on display on the Red Mare Beware Facebook page. If you like people, animals and especially horses her work is worth a look. She captures beauty, power, humanity and sweet moments in time. Check it out here.
If you want more pairing ideas check out The Flavor Bible. It really is just as the title suggest.