Bed and Breakfasts and Blueberries: A Michigan Tradition Continues

Cheri’s Michigan Blueberry
Freezer Jam. Yum!

Who better than Pure Michigan bed and breakfast innkeepers to take plump, juicy, sweet/tart blueberries and turn them into  adventures in pure lusciousness? One of our state’s premier fruit crops, nobody has better blueberry recipes than our own innkeepers. It’s just some of what makes bed and breakfast inns culinary destinations in themselves.

Cheri at Prairieside Suites Luxury B&B in Grandville makes a blueberry freezer jam that keeps the taste of the season on the tongue year around. You can enjoy it at the inn or make it yourself with surprisingly little effort.

Blueberry Freezer Jam (makes 7 cups)
2-1/2 pints blueberries (fresh from the U-Pick or farm market is best. Michigan berries are a must!)
5-1/4 cups sugar
1 package pectin
3/4 cup water
*  Combine blueberries and sugar. Stir well. Let stand 10 minutes.
* Combine pectin and water in a saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring constantly.  Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.
* Add pectin to blueberry mixture and stir for 3 minutes or until sugar is complete dissolved and no longer grainy.
* Pour or ladle jam into well-washed containers, leaving 1/2″ space at the top for expansion during freezing. * Place lids on containers and let stand at room temp 24 hours until set.
* Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or store in your freezer for up to 1 year.

Brook’s Blueberry Syrup smothers crisp waffles.

Sherwood Forest B&B in Douglas offers this recipe for blueberry syrup. Former innkeepers Keith and Sue got it from Brook, a guest they describe as “cooking with sublime yet effortless grace.” They traditionally served the syrup over Cinnamon-Orange French Toast.

Clare and Jerome have a garden lined with young blueberry bushes. Claire, who says she knows better than to indulge in the rich, delicious breakfasts she feeds her guests, regularly enjoys a handful of blueberries swimming in skim milk over her shredded wheat — and not just in season. After washing and air drying, she freezes them in gallon Zip Lock bags. She revisits summer all winter long At Willow Pond in Fenwick, scooping them out by the cupful to also slip into her muffins, pancakes, lemon scones, parfaits and smoothies.

Blueberries? Starberries? You can  easily see the star on the base of each berry.

Breakfasts at Dove Nest B&B in St. Joseph always start with a fruit dish — whatever is locally-grown and in season. This time of year, the featured fruit is — blueberries. Of course. Innkeeper Jitka, born in Czechoslovakia, has learned the blueberry is indigenous to North America. She says Native Americans called them “starberries” due to the star design on the bottom of each fruit. They associated the “starberry,” now known to be lavishly-rich in antioxidants and other essentials, with the Great Spirit who, they believed, sent the berry to earth to end famine. That’s pretty close to right, don’t you think?

Enjoy this fruity custard pie when staying at Dove Nest — or prepare it at home with fresh or frozen Michigan blueberries.

Blueberry Custard Pie
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell
2 cups blueberries
1 tbs all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
Dash of cinnamon
Wash berries and drain well. Place in pie crust and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix flour and sugar. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth.
Add eggs and vanilla, stirring until well blended. Pour mixture over berries. lightly sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake at 425F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake for an additional 35 minutes.

As a parting tip, Jitka suggests a goblet of blueberry wine on a hot summer day, as much for health as for flavor. Use frozen blueberries to cool it. What a pretty idea!

Fresh Blueberry Mufffincake, warm from the oven.

Michigan Blueberry Muffincake
Here’s a secret blueberry recipe – so hush-hush we can’t even tell you the B&B we snuck it from. But it’s good. 

Crumb Topping
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cake
3 tbsp Panko bread crumbs
2 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 – 2 cups Michigan blueberries, frozen or fresh
2 eggs
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted and cooled
8 oz. sour cream
1 tsp grated orange peel

* Preheat oven to 375 F.
* Spray two 9″ square or one 13 X 9″ baking pan with non-stick spray. Sprinkle surface with Panko crumbs.
* In small bowl, combine crumb topping ingredients with a pastry blender or fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
* In large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Blend well. Add blueberries. Beat eggs, orange juice, margarine, sour cream and orange peel. Add to blueberry mixture and stir until just moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan(s), sprinkle top with crumb mixture. Bake 35-45 minutes until toothpick comes out clean in the center of the cake. Serve warm or cold.

If you like these blueberry delights, you’ll go nuts over our online Bed & Breakfast Cookbook. Choose from blueberry recipes in the “Just Baked” and the “Sweet Mornings” categories. If you want recipes you can hold in your hands, you are welcome to purchase our printed “Michigan Bed & Breakfast Cookbook.” It’s a kitchen necessity and a great gift idea!

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