We LOVE blueberries in our family! In fact, our boys eat so many blueberries at a time that my grandmother often teases them that their noses are turning blue. When they were younger, that would actually send them running to the bathroom mirror to see if their nose was in fact a crazy shade of blue! I grew up picking blueberries every summer at my grandparents’ house and at my aunt and uncle’s blueberry farm. I enjoy eating blueberries by the handful, as well as in everything from oatmeal and muffins to pies and yogurt. The past few years, we have been lucky enough to receive cartons of blueberries each summer from my parents who had about ten blueberry bushes in their backyard and had more berries than they could eat. Now that they have moved to be closer to us (well, closer to their grandkids, really…who are we kidding?) we are working on growing some cuttings from their old house into blueberry bushes of our own.
In the meantime, I found a fabulous local farm that sells pick-your-own blueberries for $1.50/lb! So the boys and I (with the help of my mom on one of the trips) spent a couple of mornings picking blueberries at this farm with the intention of freezing most of them for colder weather and using the rest in recipes. Of course, bucketloads of the blueberries never made it past the waiting mouths of my three hungry boys but, in my eyes, that is a perfectly acceptable exchange for their helpful hands at the blueberry farm and in the kitchen! Besides, as one other mother of four older children mentioned to me across the branches of a blueberry bush laden with berries, by the time they reach the ages of 10 or 12, they will be out-picking (and out-eating) me and all of these summer trips to pick-your-own farms will have paid off!
Speaking of blueberry picking, my parents came up with a brilliant idea for hands-free blueberry collecting, meaning that you have two hands free for faster picking. We took empty plastic milk jugs and cut a large whole in the top, leaving the handle intact on the side. Then we put a belt through the handle and buckled the belt around our waist (belt loops not necessary). The novelty of the invention was enough to interest the kids and they all picked more than ever before!
So, on our second trip to the blueberry farm, the boys and I were chatting as we were picking and I asked them if there was anything special they would like to do with the blueberries that were filling up their milk jugs. Our oldest son told me that he would like to make some blueberry muffins that are safe for him to eat (we recently found out that he is allergic to wheat and dairy). Our middle son told me that he would like to make blueberry tea. Hmmm…blueberry tea? Well, you may have heard of this before but, in all my years of trying new and different recipes, I had never before made or seen a recipe for blueberry tea. But I assured him that I would find a recipe (thank goodness for the Internet!) and that we would make blueberry tea together with his blueberries. Our youngest son never stopped shoving blueberries in his mouth long enough to give me an answer to my question. Ah well, two out of three is not bad! And besides, two years old is the magical age where they still believe you when you tell them that their nose is turning blue!
I’m happy to say that we did indeed come up with a way to make wheat-free, dairy-free blueberry muffins, as well as a delicious homemade blueberry iced tea. Below are both of the yummy recipes, as well as a short video of our oldest son enjoying his tea and muffin. I love blueberry season!!
- 1 1/2 c gluten-free flour (or you could use all wheat flour)
- 1 cup oat flour (or you could use all wheat flour)
- 1 cup quick-cooking oats
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 9 Tablespoons ground flax
- 3/4 cup honey
- 2 cups yogurt (we used coconut yogurt)
- 1/2 cup milk (we used rice milk)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen)
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Combine the flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground flax in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. In a separate bowl, combine the honey, yogurt, milk, vanilla, and egg, stirring with the whisk. Add this liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir just until moist. Fold in the blueberries. Spoon into muffin cups. (We use the silicone muffin cups but, otherwise, you may need to grease your pans first. If you are making this recipe dairy-free, you can use coconut oil, olive oil, or lard to grease the pans in place of butter.)
- Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool in pans for about 10 minutes and remove to cool completely on a wire rack. (Or eat them while they are still warm like we did!)
- 12 large sprigs of mint
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- Boil 6 cups of water in a large saucepan. Turn off heat and add the mint. Cover and let steep for at least 30 minutes. Remove mint. Place 1 cup of the tea in a blender along with the blueberries. Puree and then strain the mixture back into the rest of the tea through a fine mesh strainer. Stir in the honey until dissolved. Add the fresh lemon juice. Serve over ice cubes with a slice of lemon. (Or you could go a step further and freeze a small slice of lemon in your ice cube trays along with the water and then serve the tea over a lemon-flavored ice cube. Yum!)