I’ve already consumed my fair share of blueberries and the season has only just started. Call me Violet Beauregarde they say – and to whom I am no doubt soon to resemble!*
Yes, I even managed to accidentally consume one of the punnets of blueberries reserved for our recipe below (oops!). Thank goodness for the frozen ones I had stashed in the freezer.
These sweet, little, balls of deliciousness are one of few reasons I look forward to Summer (I am NOT a hot weather person – yep, token weirdo Aussie over here), and despite the fact that my addiction will most probably send me broke, I seek comfort in the fact that blueberries are packed full of antioxidants and other goodness, thus my body will thank me in the long run, right? Provided I don’t end up homeless, I guess?!
Anyhow, growing these delicious berries would of course be a heck more wallet-friendly and immensely satisfying, and the good news is they are relatively easy to grow (pot friendly too!) – provided you can keep those pesky birds away.
Check out a snapshot of all you need to know from Natasha (The Sage Garden) below, PLUS a delicious recipe for Lemon Blueberry Clafoutis, from me… as a reward for all that hard gardening work, hey?
How to grow them?
I have one experience of growing blueberries. My blueberry. I got it as a gift a few Christmas’ ago and the only thing I knew about it was that blueberries like acidic soil. After the rush of Christmas I was keen to get my plant out of its plastic pot and into a permanent home. I researched nothing and decided I could wing it. I bought a ceramic pot about 75cm wide and 75cm tall and bought potting mix for Camellias and azaleas. I filled the bottom of the pot with stones I had lying around, to help with drainage, then planted up my blueberry in the potting mix and gave it a good water. I surrounded the soil with some mulch I had and I put the pot in front of a north-facing brick wall… I have literally done nothing to it since.
…and yet, this spring we had so many blueberries! When the children were dangling at my feet I would tell them to go find blueberries and off they would go. Knowing that the green ones weren’t ready yet, they would sit on the step with a little hand full of blue each. It was heaven for all concerned. I could research what else I should do to tell you, but it is the end of the year. Let’s make life easy. This worked for me, hopefully it will work for you.
Words by Natasha Grogan of The Sage Garden
How to cook them?
‘Clafoutis’ is the name given to a gorgeous French pudding dessert, which is light and fluffy, and perfectly acceptable at breakfast (in my humble opinion!).
Traditionally, this creamy, eggy pud is synonymous as being dotted with big black cherries, but alas, those quintessential Tasmanian beauties are not yet ripe for the picking, so blueberries it is! Although, the clafoutis batter works well with almost any fruit. I can imagine adding some sweet, fresh peach into this lemon blueberry version, or replacing with some baked rhubarb in the cooler months.
Also, thankfully, given the hectic-ness of this time of year (cue Christmas shopping hysteria!), this dessert is super simple to prepare and uses only a handful of ingredients that are probably already sitting in your pantry. You may just have to raid the neighbour’s lemon tree though? I certainly did NOT!
Lemon Blueberry Clafoutis
3/4 – 1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 large lemon, zest and juice
3/4 cup spelt flour (or any form of plain flour)
1/2 cup sugar (I used rapadura sugar)
1.5 cups milk (you may need to adjust this down with thawed, frozen berries)
1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
Butter (for greasing)
Icing sugar (for dusting)
Blend flour, eggs, vanilla, milk, sugar and baking powder to form a smooth batter.
Allow batter to sit for 20 – 30 mins (maybe do the dishes in the mean time?!
Preheat oven to 180 C (conventional oven) and grease a small oven proof dish with butter (I used a small cast iron skillet).
Scatter blueberries across the bottom of the dish and top them with the lemon juice and zest.
Carefully pour batter, evenly, over the blueberry mixture and place dish in preheated oven. Bake until the clafoutis is golden and puffed (about 40 minutes- if using frozen berries you may need to cook longer to account for excess liquid released). Test with a skewer if you’re unsure – it should remove clean.
Allow clafoutis to cool a little, before dusting with icing sugar and serving warm with some greek yoghurt, thickened cream or ice-cream.
Clafoutis makes for a versatile dessert or slightly indulgent breakfast, and any form of seasonal stewed/poached/fresh fruit can be substituted in. Stewed rhubarb, fresh cherries or peaches would work perfectly!
*If said reference from ‘Charlie and The Chocolate Factory’ makes no sense to you then do yourself a favour and google ‘Violet Beauregarde’ – it’ll all make sense, I promise!