not in season: blueberry apple crisp
I was fooled at the grocery store last week. I noticed a display of pints of blueberries, on sale at a very good price. I checked the label to find out where they came from, and I was pleased to find out that they were local, from just south of here, in Winter Haven. The kids asked if we could buy the blueberries, so I said yes. They don’t always ask for fresh fruits or vegetables, so when they do, I do what I can to encourage that habit.
It was only after I got home, with several pints of blueberries in my reusable bag, that I started thinking about those berries. I went online to research our local blueberry farms, and I realized that typical harvest months are not until summer. I pulled a package of blueberries out of the refrigerator, and read it a little closer. “Product of Chile,” but distributed out of Winter Haven, the label read.
Duped. I was duped.
So, that got me thinking about the value of eating locally-grown and locally-produced foods. I try to do it whenever possible, and I feel bad when I make a mistake. Like when I find that I’ve bought blueberries imported from Chile. But does it really matter? Is it more important to eat locally-grown food – for reasons of sustainability and eco-friendliness — or is it more important to promote and encourage my children’s desire for fresh fruits and veggies?
The answer that I’ve decided on is that I’m not going to stress about it. If my kids ask for blueberries, and blueberries are in the market, then I’m going to buy blueberries for them. When our farmer’s market opens back up in the next month or so, it will be easier to shop for fresh foods harvested in this part of north Florida. Until then, feeding my children a variety of fruits and vegetables – especially if they ASK for them – wins out as most important in my book.
So, back to those Chilean berries…
A fruit crisp is a great way to showcase blueberries. I threw in some chopped apple, just for fun, and I ended up with a Blueberry Apple Crisp. It feels like a lighter dessert than pie, but to me, it’s just as satisfying. I like mine plain, warm out of the oven, but this crisp would be just as wonderful with a scoop of vanilla ice cream served in the same bowl.
Yield: Serves 4-6.
Blueberry Apple Crisp
This is a simple fruit dessert that is satisfying when eaten by itself, or you can jazz it up by serving it warm with vanilla ice cream on the side.
2 cups blueberries
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 375°F. Make filling: In a bowl, combine blueberries, chopped apple, light brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, allspice, and lemon zest and juice. Toss together and set aside.
Make topping: Stir together flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add butter pieces, and toss to coat with the dry ingredients. Using fingertips, pinch pieces of butter together with the flour and sugar mixture; it should resemble crumbly, wet sand when completely blended. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, or in the freezer for 7 to 8 minutes.
Add fruit filling to a 9-inch pie plate. Spread chilled topping evenly over the filling. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes prior to serving.