It’s almost blueberry time in Louisiana which means it’s almost Spring, my favorite time of year. Yes, it’s almost time to grab a friend and a pail and head out to pick blueberries. Almost time to figure out the ratio of blueberries that make it into the pail versus into the mouths. From past blueberry picking experiences, my ratio tends to be about 2 to 1. I have also learned that a deep blue or a royal blue shirt is a good choice and white is never a good choice.
To extend the life of your prized berry haul, bring a cooler along with you when picking to safely transport them home. When home, store the berries in the refrigerator in a covered container. I prefer a glass bowl with a lid. Rinse berries as needed before enjoying. Do not rinse the berries before storing and don’t forget blueberries freeze well, too.
Snacking on blueberries like popcorn and pairing them with cheese and a nice glass of wine are my favorite ways to enjoy them, but sometimes my overzealous excitement when picking the berries leaves me with an overabundance. I always share the excess berries with my neighbors and I always splurge at least once (o.k., maybe twice) on this Blueberry Caramel. It is a rich addition to vanilla ice cream, but being the savory over sweet person I am, I prefer it over this Stuffed French Toast. This blueberry caramel is perfect for using up overripe berries.
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 1/2 tsp cream
- 1/2 cup fresh or overripe blueberries
- 4 slices French Bread (3/4'')
- 4 oz brie cheese, sliced thin, softened
- 2 slices Havarti cheese
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 TBSP butter
- Add water and sugar to a small heavy saucepan. Heat over medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar, just until mixture reaches a boil. Watch closely and boil until water evaporates and sugar begins to caramelize. Remove from heat when desired caramel color is reached.
- Stir in cream and blueberries. Keep stirring, crushing berries on side of saucepan until caramel is smooth. Let cool.
- In a bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and extract.
- Spread 1 ounce of brie onto each slice and add Harvarti to two of the slices. Press slices together making a "sandwich".
- In a large non-stick skillet or griddle over medium low heat, melt butter. Holding the "sandwich" tightly together, dip each into egg mixture, allowing to soak for 5 seconds, turn over, repeat, letting excess drip. Place into skillet.
- Cook 2-3 minutes per side or until lightly browned.
- Drizzle with Blueberry Caramel sauce.
Blueberry caramel can be stored in the refrigerator for a week. Heat as needed.
Put on Your TO COOK IS TO CREATE Thinking Cap: Not a savory stuffed French toast fan? Serve the blueberry caramel over your favorite pancakes, waffles, or poundcake. Meat lover? Add sage sausage, bacon, or ham to the stuffed French toast. No vanilla extract? Use maple syrup. Want to turn the blueberry caramel into an adult treat? Stir in brandy, Chambord, or some orange liqueur after removing from heat. No brie cheese? Use cream cheese. No Harvarti cheese? Use Munster or Monterey Jack
Food Fun: Did you know blueberries were once called, “star fruits”? According to the Blueberry Council, they were called “star fruits” because of the five-pointed star shape that is formed at the blossom end of the berry. Want to go pick some “star fruits”? A single blueberry bush can produce as many as 6,000 blueberries per year, so there’s a lot of picking to do.