Blueberry lemon bread

Every year a group of us go blueberry picking. It sounds so idyllic. Rise early on a June morning when the heat has yet to radiate from the pavement and drive to a blueberry patch so established that the bushes have turned into trees. Rent a bucket from the fair-haired boy in the blueberry shed and go forth.

It’s idyllic for about 10 minutes. Five minutes if you’re under the age of 12. Blueberry picking is not for sissies. You can only pick them one by one, continuously checking the bottom of your bucket to see if even a single layer has covered the bottom. Or you can pick them off the ground as my friend Elizabeth does. But she is short and I consider that foraging, not picking.

It becomes hotter than you expect more quickly than you expect and rivulets of sweat start trickling down your forehead as you strain your neck upward looking for the ripe berries. And then, as luck would have it this year, a ferocious rainstorm unleashed sheets of water sending us scrambling for cover.

And we decided it was time to move indoors for a civilized breakfast.

But the fresh-picked berries are sweet as candy and they freeze beautifully (lay them out on a sheet tray lined with parchment and freeze them in one layer before bagging them and returning them to the freezer).

So my first use of my haul was in a Blueberry Lemon Bread from The Newcastle Inn in Maine. Yes, the blueberries sunk to the bottom of the pan even though I coated them in sugar. But delicious nonetheless.

Blueberry Lemon Bread

(From The Newcastle Inn in Newcastle, Maine)

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup whole milk

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour a 7 ½ inch by 3 ¼ inch loaf pan. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and mix well. In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the milk and dry ingredients alternately to the creamed mixture. Stir in the blueberries, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean.

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