happy tears, and a slow-cooker summer berry grunt

The blueberry farm was a new one to me, not the one we visited last year. I was pleased that this new one was so close to our home, just about 10 minutes away. My husband was pleased that the berries were going to be free.

On Facebook the day before, a friend posted a photo of her blueberry haul – gallons of the dark blue berries overflowing bags and buckets on her kitchen table – and I couldn’t resist leaving a comment asking where she scored this amazing harvest. She wrote back with an address, and less than 24 hours later, we were driving down a two-lane country road flanked by pastures and small family farms.

Because it was Mother’s Day morning, I assumed we would have the field to ourselves, but I was wrong. The dirt road outlining and, in some parts, cutting through the fields were meant for commercial trucks and picking crews. Today, they were lined with minivans and family cars, and people of all ages – including several multi-generational families – were moving slowly along the rows between blueberry bushes, hunting the for the biggest and juiciest berries.

We parked our own minivan – we fit in quite nicely with the crowd – grabbed our buckets, including two plastic jack-o’-lanterns and two beach pails, and headed down the nearest empty aisle. A rooster crowed from somewhere nearby, clearly not caring that the sun had been up for hours. We paired up, Madeline with Sam, and Oliver with me. With lovebugs hovering around us, we dodged spider webs and stinging nettles and other scary-looking, thorny plants that seemed to be guarding the blueberries from our reaching fingers. It became competitive, a race to pick the most, the biggest, the sweetest berries.

Oliver picked one at a time, plucking a berry off a low-hanging branch, inspecting it for any marks or wrinkles, and finally showing it to me for approval. Only then did he plop it into his green pail. Madeline picked by the handful, but the majority of her berries wound up in her mouth instead of her bucket.

“I have happy tears,” Oliver said to me, as we were nearing the end of a row, our buckets nearly full.

“Why, sweetie?” I asked.

“Because I just love blueberries so much,” he said.

I have happy tears, too, I thought, taking his little hand in mine as we walked together to meet his sister and father.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Cook Time: 4 hours

Slow-Cooker Summer Berry Grunt

This dessert - essentially, stewed berries with steamed dumplings - uses a mixture of blueberries and blackberries. You could certainly use all blueberries, or you could mix it up and add in some frozen cherries. We used what we had in our freezer.

Ingredients:

12 ounces frozen blackberries
20 ounces frozen blueberries
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1-3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Directions:

1. Combine blackberries, blueberries, 1/4 cup (2.5 ounces) flour, 3/4 cup sugar, lemon juice, 1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a large microwave-proof bowl. Microwave, uncovered, until the berries begin to release their liquid, about 5 minutes, stirring at the half-way mark. Stir well and transfer to slow cooker; spread in even layer.

2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1-3/4 cup (7.5 ounces) flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add milk and melted butter, stirring well to combine.

3. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.

4. Grease a 1/4-cup measuring cup (either with butter or with a spray of cooking spray) and scoop 8 equal dumplings around the perimeter of the slow cooker, on top of the berries. Sprinkle the dumplings with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Cover and cook on the low setting for 4 hours. Serve warm.

Adapted from Cook's Country, June-July 2012, Slow-Cooker Cherry Grunt recipe (page 29).

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12 Responses to “yay for s’mores!”

  1. JulieD — June 1, 2010 @ 9:37 am

    Yummy! I love how you captured how messy they can get…but who cares that they’re messy. 🙂

  2. TasteStopping — June 1, 2010 @ 9:50 am

    Oh, your photos are making me crave s’mores right now! I’m so glad that the marshmallows pleasantly surprised you. A fresh marshmallow is hard to describe to anyone who has only had store-bought. It’s a whole different animal! And the other components of this kit, the crackers and the chocolate, are delicious in their own right. Put ’em all together and you definitely have gourmet s’mores!

    Congratulations on winning your Gourmet S’mores Kit from RegionalBest.com and thanks for joining the TasteStopping S’mores Tasting Party!

    Best,
    Casey

  3. Susan J — June 1, 2010 @ 9:58 am

    Love the pic of your daughter with her eyes closed just enjoying that s’more!
    My son showed me his sticky fingers after devouring his. 😛

  4. Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle — June 1, 2010 @ 11:15 am

    I’m with you regarding marshmallows; not sure there is a reason to just pop one in your mouth plain…weren’t they made expecting we would finish them off with fire?

    Have seen a lot of s’more recipes lately which just led to this random thought…why don’t Girl Scout Cookies offer a s’more cookie…seems a perfect fit; that’s where I had most of my s’more adventures; at camp!

  5. megan — June 1, 2010 @ 12:54 pm

    Oh what fun it is to relive all this s’more goodness. Thanks for sharing. Your daughter looks like she is in heaven!

  6. macaroni mama — June 1, 2010 @ 9:04 pm

    I just found a s’more recipe that put a banana on the chocolate. Sounded good to me.

  7. Magic of Spice — June 1, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

    Congrats! They look wonderful, and funny I test for quality the very same way:)

  8. Congrats on winning the giveaway! S’mores are just one of those childhood treats that you never outgrow. Yours look good enough to eat right from the computer. 🙂

  9. RJ Flamingo — June 1, 2010 @ 11:53 pm

    There is no better judge than a kid with sticky marshmallow/chocolate fingers. 😉 Totally fun!

  10. Stephanie — June 2, 2010 @ 12:05 am

    The marshmallows were my favorite part! There’s nothing like fresh marshmallow. Making them at home is pretty magical, I totally recommend trying it!

  11. Pingback: Tweets that mention yay for s’mores! | the merry gourmet -- Topsy.com

  12. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — June 3, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

    These are totally spectacular! I think I need to source me a gourmet smores kit!!!!

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