Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Blueberry time

Lynn Kyle knows blueberries.

She picks them, she sells them and she cooks with them.

More than 30 years ago, Lynn’s dad, A.B. Tucker, planted five to six dozen blueberry bushes in the Buckhorn community. It was a hobby for him.

Lynn said he picked them each summer and sold them to the farmers market that used to be at the corner of N.C. 42 and Forest Hills Road.

The family always helped him out in the summer and took vacations on that blueberry money, she said.

Since the death of their parents, Lynn and her brothers have taken over the blueberry patch.

Lynn said the blueberries are totally organic and that no chemicals have ever been put on them. The bushes, which tower at 10 to 15 feet, have only been pruned a couple of times, she said.

There are several varieties of blueberries among the bushes, and Lynn and friend Lisa Lewis spend hours picking enough to sell for individual orders as well as at Wilson’s two farmers markets. Lynn said she and Lisa sell 60 to 70 quarts each time they set up at the markets. On Wednesday last week, they sold 62 quarts at the downtown market, which is open on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 207 W. Green St. They also go to the market at the Wilson County Fairgrounds from 7:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

Lynn enjoys her time in the blueberry patch.

“My dad always said it was relaxing out there picking; it’s quiet and peaceful,” she said, adding she feels close to her mom and dad when she’s among those familiar bushes.

Lynn said the weather has been perfect for the blueberries this year, and they seem sweeter and plumper than in past seasons. She hopes they last until the end of July. Sometimes the season is longer, but this year they were ready a few weeks earlier than usual.

Lynn has a number of recipes for her blueberries, and she also puts them on salads, in smoothies and eats them with oatmeal.

She freezes them as well and pulls them out during the off season to enjoy them frozen.

“It’s a great snack,” she said.

One favorite dessert is what she calls blueberry bottom cupcakes. She mixes up a yellow cake mix by the box directions and stirs in up to three cups of blueberries before spooning the batter into cupcake holders. She said the simple recipe is delicious. She loves how the blueberries settle to the bottom of the cupcake.

Lynn is sharing two recipes today. One is a blueberry cheesecake recipe she adapted.

“When I made it, I, as usual, did not read all the directions, just mixed everything together,” she said. “The pie was supposed to be layered, not totally mixed together and put in the shell.”

Apparently her son, Trevor, preferred it that way because when she made it the correct way this year, layered, he told her he liked the old way better!

“So I played around and changed the original recipe to be better than the mistake one!”She’s also sharing her mom’s blueberry cobbler recipe, which only has a few ingredients.

Lynn said she’s well aware of the nutritional value of blueberries. According to a N.C. Department of Agriculture website, blueberries contain vitamins A and C as well as iron, potassium and magnesium. They are also a good source of fiber and carbohydrates and contain just 42 calories per half-cup serving.

Blueberry Cheesecake
  • 1 9-inch size deep dish baked pie shell or 2 regular size baked pie shells (I’ve also made it with 2 graham cracker crusts)*
  • 4 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 package cream cheese instant pudding
  • 1 cup 2 percent milk
  • 1 package (8-ounce size) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 to 12 oz. whipped topping
Simmer 2 cups berries with the water for 3 or 4 minutes. Mash berries with potato masher. Add combined sugar and cornstarch to the cooking fruit. Continue cooking until syrup is thick, stirring constantly. When about thickened, remove from heat and stir in remaining 2 cups berries. Set aside to cool.

Combine cream cheese pudding and milk. Beat until smooth. Add softened cream cheese and powered sugar. Continue beating until creamy and smooth. Fold in 1/2 of the whipped topping. When berries are cooled, pour into cream cheese, pudding and cool whip mixture. Pour into pie shells, top with remaining cool whip. Refrigerate until chilled. Enjoy!

*This recipe is also very good made without a crust, served more like a pudding with whipped topping.

Lynn Kyle

Charlotte’s Cobbler
  • 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple in its own juice (undrained)
  • 1 quart blueberries
  • 1 box dry yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare a 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Pour in crushed pineapple and spread over bottom of dish. Cover with blueberries.

Sprinkle yellow cake mix over the fruit and top with drizzled butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. If the cake mix still has dry places 10 to 15 minutes into the baking process, move the mix around a little with a knife so it mixes with the melted butter.

Lynn Kyle

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