In mid to late summer, I keep an eye out when wheeling the shopping cart through the produce department at the Honest Weight Food Co-op in Albany for blueberries from Grindstone Farm E.I.E.I.O. (Excellence In Edible Incredible Organics) in Pulaski (Oswego County) in upstate New York. When they appear, they become a daily part of the diet. Soon enough, thoughts turn to baking up a blueberry crisp or cobbler with the E.I.E.I.O. berries (sound it out for a guaranteed smile).
Last summer, with cooler temperatures than what we’ve experienced in 2019, it didn’t take long for me to bake up a Blueberry Rhubarb Cobbler inspired by a recipe from Chez Panisse (the famous farm to table restaurant in Berkeley, California).
The delicious recipe was shared in Molly O’Neill’s Here to Help column in the New York Times. Sadly, soon after the column’s publication, one of America’s leading chroniclers of food, lost her long and public bout with cancer as noted by reporters Kim Severson and Neil Genzlinger in their appreciative profile, Molly O’Neill, Writer Who Explored and Celebrated Food, Is Dead at 66 (New York Times, 6/17/19).
This summer with the extraordinary summer heat, meals that didn’t require heating up the oven were a necessity in a home that does not have the sounds of humming air conditioners. And to heat up the kitchen by baking up another delicious Blueberry Rhubarb Cobbler was not in the offing. In early September though, with rhubarb only a memory in the backyard garden, it was time to consider a home baked blueberry crisp or cobbler.
And what sealed the deal was spotting a colorful handout at the Capital District YMCA’s Bethlehem location for Healthier Blueberry Crisp. Skimming the recipe, it looked to be a cinch to make.
Though tempting to take the time to make another cobbler with buttery dough topping, like the Chez Panisse inspired one, I took the easier route. With morning temperatures in the low 50s, heating up the oven to 350 degrees would also take a morning chill off the house too.
But the first step was to figure out the source for the YMCA’s recipe. In our modern age, that was no big deal. Googling Healthier Blueberry Crisp turned up the Healthy Blueberry Crisp on a Buzz Feed brand website for recipes, Tasty.Co.
Of course, the ingredients this home cook seeks out to use in recipes are fresh, local and organic, in order to support local farmers, growers and producers. And they make for tastier dishes too.
For this recipe, the organic rolled oats, organic almonds, organic flour, and cinnamon were sourced from the extraordinary bulk food department of the Honest Weight Food Co-op, with its 1,000 bins of bulk foods. The bulk food aisle at a food co-op or even in some supermarkets is the best way to buy many ingredients. The website Treehugger concisely states the reasons to buy food in bulk including cutting down on food waste and saving money.
I used local Kriemhild Meadow butter from Hamilton (Madison County) in upstate NY produced from the dairy farm’s grass-fed cows. And the maple syrup was from nearby Ioka Valley Farm in Hancock (Berkshire County), Massachusetts.
Easy To Make & Healthier Blueberry Crisp
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
3 cups of blueberries (just under two dry pints)
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup of almonds, chopped or slivered
1/4 cup whole wheat or teff flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter (melted)
1/4 cup maple syrup
(1) Combine dry ingredients (oats, almonds, flour & cinnamon) in a bowl. I used teff flour instead of whole wheat flour. Given global warming and pressures of population growth, teff is a grain for the future. Just one handful of teff seeds is enough to plant an acre and it can grow from sea level to as high as two miles (3000 meters) of altitude. And teff can withstand both droughts and waterlogged soil conditions. Plus it has a tasty, nutty flavor.
(2) Add in the wet ingredients (melted butter and maple syrup) and mix until evenly coated.
(3) Add blueberries to a medium-sized baking dish (very lightly greased). I like to use a Bennington Pottery square baker, which no doubt will be used by future bakers too. It conducts heat perfectly and is beautiful (and worthy of passing along down the line).
(4) Cover the blueberries evenly with the crisp topping.
(5) Bake 45-50 minutes until golden brown and blueberries start to bubble.
(Frank W. Barrie, 9/3/19)