Pacific Northwest Blackberry Muffins

2 08 2013

IMG_6841I live in the Willamette Valley in the state of Oregon, U.S.A. and am happy to announce that blackberry season has arrived. Nearly every corner of every neighborhood hosts a rogue blackberry patch that appears like the enemy 11 months of the year, except in August when bushes drip with the juicy fruit. Whether I am on a leisurely stroll, a bike ride, or running errands by car, the sweet aroma of blackberry saturates the air. My children often hear me breathe in deeply and ask, “Do you smell that?” That’s the signal that it’s time for us to grab some buckets and head toward the nearest patch.IMG_6869

They’ve all been picking since they were toddlers and compete over whose bucket gets filled fastest and highest. Blackberry patches don’t surrender their produce easily. They hide the largest, ripest berries toward the top, just out of reach, or tucked amidst a thorny cluster of vines. I never escape their clutches and always finish with multiple scratches—but it’s worth it.

IMG_6837Once I’m home, I wash the blackberries in a colander, spread them on a lined cookie sheet, and freeze them. Blackberries will mold within a few days if left in their juice in the refrigerator, so immediately freezing is essential if you are not able to get to them quickly. Transfer frozen blackberries into various containers for the freezer. They break apart easily even if frozen in larger batches.

I adapt a family muffin recipe by substituting various fruits, but the blackberry version is my favorite. Packaged, frozen blackberries also work. Frozen berries hold their shape during baking. These muffins taste great plain, but also topped with butter, blackberry butter, cream cheese and lemon curd.

Blackberry MuffinsIMG_6844
2 eggs
1 C. milk
½ C. oil or melted butter
3 C. flour
1 C. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 C. frozen blackberries

Beat eggs, stir in milk and oil. Add dry ingredients and mix until flour is moistened. Batter will be lumpy. Gently stir in blackberries. Pour into greased or lined muffin tin and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Makes approximately 15 muffins. Cool on rack. Enjoy!

 

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