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The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
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is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 08.05.03
Montreal

GREG DUNCAN

Blueberry Bliss

You can't ask for a better combination of flavor and goodness in a small package. Blue berries have all the qualities that make them stand out in a crowd. Whether cancer fighting, cholesterol lowering or memory improving, these little blue bundles of sweetness pack a lot of punch and now is the time to make the most of these treats while the local season is on and the berries abound.

Good berry eaters know that Quebec produces an abundance of blueberries and that you've got to get them at their peak. Fortunately there are lots to go around this season it seems.

I always requested that my Mom make me a blueberry pie during those hot summer days of my youth and although she now has adjusted her recipe to be sugar free, I can't tell the difference between the crumble she makes with a sugar substitute and the former. My svelte dad benefits and by all accounts, my moms memory has improved. Not that it wasn't good before, just that she remembers far too many embarrassing family moments that she recounts at random on occasion. Must be the berries.

In Quebec, many lay claim to producing a better berry, but I am throwing my support behind a region that is famous for them. Something in the climate, the water, or the air allows the Saguenay area bragging rights. Fortunately you don't have to travel that far to get some although I suggest you do if I you can.

Fiords and crystal rivers make for wonderful picnics and a blueberry heaven. You may have to share your lunch with a bear mind you. I have seen bears munch blueberries by the paw full as they waddled through a laden patch while grunting, snorting and gorging, as they are prone to do. How they do this while swatting pesky black flies with one paw while managing to pick enough so as to fatten up for the winter is a feat of ingenuity.

Again, fortunately for us bipeds, a trip to the market or local u-pick farm will get you all you need for a feast. Enjoy your blueberry stained lips and fingers everyone.

BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE

A lavish amount of blueberries makes this dessert so succulent, the filling is almost a light pudding. A minimal amount of sugar lets the flavor of the fruit shine through. The rich, crumbly topping proves how a little butter can go a long way.

Ingredients

Filling:
6 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar *
3 Tbsp. Flour
2 tsp. lemon juice

Topping:
3/4 cup rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)
1/2-cup all-purpose white flour
1/4-cup whole-wheat flour
1/2-cup dark brown sugar *
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 Tbsp. cold, unsalted butter, cut in small pieces

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place blueberries in large bowl. Add sugar and flour; toss with your hands to combine. Place mixture in 8-inch square baking dish and sprinkle with lemon juice. In another large bowl, combine oats and white and whole wheat flours, sugar and cinnamon, using your hands or a fork to blend them. Work in butter, using fork or tips of your fingers, until it is evenly distributed in the topping. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling.

Bake crumble for 30 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is lightly browned. Let it sit 20 minutes, then serve warm.

(* Splenda may be used in equal quantity for those on a sugar-free diet. This product measures cup-by-cup, spoon-by-spoon as a sugar replacement in most recipes.)

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