Sunday, January 19, 2014

Misty Valley Blueberry Farm Adventure

Ok I'll admit it, I'm obsessed with blueberries. I cannot get enough of them. I have them every morning whether in my kale protein shake or on my toasted muesli. I mainly buy them in bulk, frozen but sometimes if they're on special we get a real treat and actually buy them fresh! Since I am a self proclaimed blueberry connoisseur, I thought I knew what blueberries tasted like, but wow have my taste buds been deceived.

Our recent pilgrimage to the Misty Valley Blueberry Farm in the Hunter opened my eyes or should I say taste buds, to what REAL blueberries taste like. The berries here are sweeter than any store bought blueberries I've found. They're also juicer, plumper and just down right delicious.
The kids and I were in blueberry heaven. But I hear you asking, "What makes them so different from store bought berries?" Well according to the owner I spoke to, it's because they're organic so no nasty chemicals are sprayed on them.

The farm was apparently non-organic before the current owners purchased the property and it's taken many years of organic farming to get the crop to the point it's currently at, which is the best it's ever been.

If you're a die hard blueberritarian like myself or just happen to be heading to the Hunter, I definitely suggest making a stop by Misty Valley Farm, though make sure to call ahead and let them know when you want to come as they don't seem to have strict opening times and you can only get their address by phoning.

The best time to pick blueberries here is December through January. If the Hunter region doesn't work for you, there are also plenty of pick your own farms down south and near the Blue Mountains.

What to do with all those delicious blueberries? Well, we did consume a substantial amount by just popping them in our mouths as they are, but we also enjoyed them in blueberry crumble muffins! These muffins are moist and light (since the recipe uses vegetable oil instead of butter) but the crumble on top is the real crowning jewel. 

Blueberry Crumble Muffins
adapted from Cooking Classy

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
7 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg
2 Tablespoon sour cream
1/2 cups fresh blueberries

zest of one lemon

Crumb Topping

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar

2 1/2 Tbsp chilled butter, diced
1 1/2 Tbsp Raw Sugar

Step 1: Prepare crumb topping by combining 1/3 cup flour, 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar and 2 1/2 Tbsp butter in a food processor. Pulse just a few seconds until combine, it should be very fluffy (if you pulse it too much it will become dense). Pour crumb mixture into a small bowl and whisk in 1 1/2 Tbsp raw sugar, set aside.
Step 2: In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, using a wire hand whisk, mix together 1 cup granulated sugar, buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, lemon zest and sour cream for 1 minute. Gently whisk in dry mixture just until combine, batter should be slightly lumpy. Gently fold in blueberries. Divide mixture evenly among 14 paper lined muffin tins. Allow muffins to rest at room temperature 10 minutes, meanwhile preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius fan forced.
Step 3: After muffins have rested, fluff crumb topping with a fork and sprinkle each muffin evenly with crumb topping mixture. Bake muffins for 20 minutes until lightly golden and when a toothpick is inserted in the centre, it comes out clean. Allow to cool several minutes in muffin pan before removing to wire rack to cool.
I'll post a couple more healthy blueberry recipes soon, but make a batch of these in the meantime and...Enjoy!

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