Am I the only one who gets a pang when hearing cicadas at night? It makes me sad because it signals late August meaning the end of summer is near. Back when I went to camp, first in Vermont and then in Maine, by August the mornings and evenings were cool enough to make long pants and sweaters mandatory. This summer in Vermont has been so hot, many of us are still wearing shorts and tee-shirts. Yesterday, very close to the anniversary of last year’s Hurricane Irene, brought the first cool morning.
We haven’t had enough rain but it’s been a veritable flood compared to Kansas, Nebraska and other areas. Tomatoes are in full swing, even my small crop, and local zucchini, corn, cucumbers and eggplant are plentiful. The other day we bought a small sculpture from a local artist who, upon learning that our garden is flowers only, pressed several zucchini on us.
My freezer overflows with blueberries, the result of a trip to a nearby “Pick Your Own” farm that provides a plastic-bag lined bucket with a strap that goes around the neck leaving both hands free to pluck. These are high bush blueberries so picking is easy. I came home with six pounds from no more than an hours’ effort.
When my daughters were about ten and seven, we went berry picking. I tried to use the opportunity to explain the difficult lives of migrant farmers. “Just think,” I told them, “how hard it would be if you had to do this all day every day and had to travel from farm to farm to work.” My cautionary tale barely registered. Shoveling berries into your mouths was work? Clearly, Mom was bonkers
This recipe for blueberry buckle (very like cobbler) comes from a friend who is an excellent cook and baker. The hot water bit may strike you as weird but trust me, it works.
Blueberry Buckle PT
½ c. sugar
¼ tsp. Salt
1 cup flour (sifted)
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup milk
Mix sugar and butter. Sift dry ingredients. Add to dry ingredients to butter mixture alternating with milk. Beat a minute or two and then beat in egg.
Put 2 –3 cups berries in baking dish (I use a 9” x 9” one). Squeeze ½ lemon over berries. Spread batter over berries (don’t worry if some sort of pop through). Mix ½- ¾ c. sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon w. 1 T. corn starch and ¼ tsp salt and sprinkle over batter. Pour 1 cup boiling water over all and do not fear—it will not emerge a soggy mess.
Bake in 375 oven for 1 hour. Serve with vanilla ice cream. (hint: put baking dish on a cookie sheet or other tray- like item covered with foil. If the blueberries drip over—very likely—it makes clean-up a lot easier.)