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ERIN SULLEY: I’m feeling blue (berries, that is)

There’s nothing better than homemade blueberry banana loaves fresh out of the oven. All you need is a cup of tea and you’re set. – Paul Pickett photo
There’s nothing better than homemade blueberry banana loaves fresh out of the oven. All you need is a cup of tea and you’re set. – Paul Pickett photo - Erin Sulley

“By’s! You got ’er picked over. There’s nar blueberry to be found.” That, or I’m clearly not searching in the right place.

Full disclosure foodie friends, I am not a lover of berry picking. I love to eat them, bake with them and I love the thought of being outdoors on a beautiful, peaceful day in the woods — but it kills my back.

I have no idea how people spend hours upon hours sitting or hunched over picking berries. I’d have to take a hot bath with a couple of jars of Epsom salts. I may be doing it completely wrong or I just need more patience.

All this to say, I applaud people who can spend hours and days being one with nature, picking those precious blueberries. Knowing the time and physical activity that’s put into picking berries, I certainly have no problem paying the price marked on a salt beef bucket of berries by the side of the road. Good on ya, I say!

What do you do when you have a ginormous tub of blueberries? You break out a variety of your favourite baking pans of course!

There’s something about prepping your baking ingredients on the counter that brings instant comfort to your home. – Erin Sulley photo - Erin Sulley
There’s something about prepping your baking ingredients on the counter that brings instant comfort to your home. – Erin Sulley photo - Erin Sulley

“Procrastibaking: When you have a million things to do but ignore everything and bake.” — Unknown

I found a great recipe for a tasty blueberry banana loaf on dinnersdishesanddesserts.com that you may want to try out. What will you need? You’re going to need one and three quarter cups of flour, one teaspoon of baking powder, one eighth of a teaspoon of baking soda, a quarter teaspoon of salt, half a cup of butter (softened), one cup of sugar, two eggs, a quarter cup of milk, one teaspoon of vanilla, three ripe bananas (or in my case — frozen) and one and a quarter cups of blueberries.

First things first, heat your oven to 350 degrees. Like most loaf or muffin recipes, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Using your mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Then, add your eggs, milk and vanilla. When the batter is well mixed, beat in the three bananas. You’ll want to turn the mixer down to a lower speed for this next part. Unless, that is, you want to end up looking like a ghost when the flour explodes all around you.

OK, low speed it is!

Slowly add the flour mixture. Don’t overdo it though. Once combined, you can turn it off and fold your blueberries in using a spatula. Wait!!! Whoa nelly. I almost forgot to tell you about the most important part. When it comes to baking with blueberries, there’s one thing I must do whether the berries are fresh or frozen, and that’s coating them lightly in flour before folding them in the batter. It drives me when the blueberry juice bleeds throughout the batter or when the berries sink to the bottom of the pan.

All you need is a couple of tablespoons of flour to coat your berries before folding them into the mixture. Use a little at a time and add more if needed. – Erin Sulley photo - Erin Sulley
All you need is a couple of tablespoons of flour to coat your berries before folding them into the mixture. Use a little at a time and add more if needed. – Erin Sulley photo - Erin Sulley

“What do you call it when a group of blueberries play jazz music? A jam session.” — Unknown

Thick batter is much better for cradling the berries, if you have a thin batter a light coating of flour will definitely help your efforts of keeping them towards the top as it absorbs some of the fruit liquid. Although, we are talking about blueberries, this can apply to just about any type of fruit you use in baking. It’s a game changer.

If you’re using a loaf pan for the entire mixture, bake it for 55 to 60 minutes. I like to mix it up a bit with a variety of sizes. Reason being, I may just want a little loaf with a cup of tea or to put in a lunch bag as an afternoon treat at the office. They also make for great gifts for friends or family members.

I don’t like the tops of my loaves to be too brown. I prefer a light golden brown. – Erin Sulley photo - Erin Sulley
I don’t like the tops of my loaves to be too brown. I prefer a light golden brown. – Erin Sulley photo - Erin Sulley

“I tried to make a tiny blueberry pie, but it ended up being a little tart.” — Unknown

When you see a delicious golden brown colour on top, take the pan(s) out and do the toothpick test. If they pass, let them sit for about 15 minutes and remove them from the pan(s).

Blueberry banana loaves, no matter the size, are definitely fit to eat.

Erin Sulley is a self-confessed foodie who lives in Mount Pearl.

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