Raised on her family's farms and imbued with the shrewd kitchen wisdom of her Southern grandmothers, it's no surprise that Inspired Eating's Lisa Turner embraced a deep respect for food and the land at an early age. In her column, Farm Food, Lisa celebrates the clean, simple beauty of food pulled straight from the ground.
This week: Lisa dotes on burstingly fresh blueberries.
Photo by Nicole Franzen; styled by Mariya Yufest
When I was small, my grandmothers would send my cousins and me out with big plastic pails to collect wild berries from the brambly patches surrounding the farm. Our reward: the rich, impossibly fragrant cobblers they’d bake for Sunday dinner. We would come home hours later, lugging our juicy cargo, our mouths and fingers stained purple from eating as many berries as we put in our pails. To this day, I can’t eat a berry without remembering those hot summer days in North Carolina, eating those sun-warmed fruits as fast as our little fingers could pick them.
Of course, back then it was of no consequence to me that berries are loaded with heart-protective antioxidants, or that they’re high in fiber and low on the glycemic index. Blueberries in particular protect the eyes and brain, and help regulate blood sugar.
But none of that mattered to me then and, truth be told, it’s only a small reason I’m still wild for berries. You will be, too, when you try these recipes.
Blueberry-Coconut Ice Cream
For a lighter, sorbet version, swap 1/3 cup white grape juice and the juice of one large lemon for the coconut milk. Or substitute strawberries for the blueberries in this recipe. You can also use honey or agave instead of sugar, but the sugar helps the ice cream freeze to a finer texture.
Makes about two pints
1 1/3 cups coconut milk
1/3 cup unrefined cane sugar
4 cups fresh blueberries (reserve 1/2 cup for garnish)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes for garnish
Fresh mint leaves for garnish
Fresh Berry Salsa
Serve this sweet and spicy salsa with homemade chips, or thin it with a small amount of olive oil for a fresh, fruity dressing.
Makes 1 1/2 cups
1 small serrano pepper, seeded and finely minced
3/4 cup blueberries, chopped small
1/2 cup coarsely chopped strawberries, raspberries and/or blackberries
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Vegan Almond-Berry Tarts
This creamy filling is completely dairy free, but as rich and lush as a traditional custard. You can make a more standard, glossy berry topping for these lovely little treats by mixing berry preserves with a bit of water, heating until warm, and brushing over the tops.
Makes six 4-inch tarts
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup almond flour (not almond meal)
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
Dash of salt
1/2 cup vegan shortening, cold
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 tablespoons raw, unfiltered honey
1 tablespoon arrowroot
1 pint blueberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Like this post? See Lisa's previous topic: Giddy for Green Garlic.
Lisa is a food writer, cooking instructor, nutrition consultant, and Psychology of Eating coach in Boulder. She's written five books and hundreds of recipes and articles for national and local magazines; developed the Inspired Eats iPhone app; and co-founded Boulder Soup Works. In her consulting business, Inspired Eating, she works with individual clients, groups, and corporations to help them create healthy eating patterns.