Saturday, December 7, 2013
If you’re looking to do something a little different with your blueberries, how about fermenting them?
You can use fermented berries in a variety of ways. David Ross, chef at 50 Local in Kennebunk, features them in a seasonal blueberry salad, and also uses them in an oyster mignonette.
Ross ferments the blueberries using the honeymead method outlined below. When the berries are ready, he uses them in a blueberry salad and saves the mead for drinking on a hot summer day. He says the flavor his more like kombucha than a sweet, sugary mead.
There are lots of other blueberry recipes, along with lists of blueberry festivals and pick-your-own blueberry spots, in today’s special issue of Food and Dining. Growers tell me the highbush blueberry season is the best they’ve seen in years, so don’t miss out – visit your local farmers’ market, or get out there and get picking!
FOR THE MEAD
Ratio is 1 cup raw honey to 5 cups of water
1 cup raw honey
5 cups water
2-3 cups blueberries
7 chamomile flowers
Combine the honey and water to a sterilized, sealable glass jar. Mix the water and honey with a whisk or spoon. Seal the jar and shake it vigorously. Open the jar and place the fruits and flowers. Seal the jar and shake again. Let the jar sit at room temperature and shake 1-3 times per day, making sure to open the jar each day to let out the air pressure. You will see the liquid become fizzy and carbonated.
After 10 days, strain out the berries and flowers and returns the liquid back to the jar.Keep shaking the liquid daily until the bubbles and fizzing stops (around 5-7 more days). Once the fizzing has stopped, you may enjoy the honeymead on its own, on ice or in a cocktail.
It is OK if the mead still has light bubbles after 2 weeks. You may age it longer if you desire.
4 handfuls arugula
1 cup fermented blueberries
1/4 cup roasted pecans
2 radish, shaved
1/2 medium zucchini, shaved
1/2 cup cava dressing
salt & pepper to taste
4 ounces pecorino, shaved
Toss pecans in oil, season with salt and roast at 350 for 5 minutes. When light brown in the middle, pull them out and set on a cooling tray.
Add arugula, half of the blueberries, zucchini, radish and half of the pecans into a mixing bowl.Add half of the dressing and mix into the salad. Taste the arugula and season with salt and pepper and more dressing as needed.
Divide the arugula to the plates and garnish the top with the remaining radish, zucchini and blueberries on the bottom of the bowl.Top with the remaining pecans and blueberries. Shave the pecorino cheese over the top.
FOR THE CAVA DRESSING
1/2 cup cava or other sparkling wine
1/4 cup sugar or simple syrup
1/8 cup sherry vinegar
1 large shallot, finely chopped salt and pepper to taste
Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.
Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business before turning to journalism more than a decade ago. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs. A newcomer to Portland, she is an online content producer for the Press Herald.
Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod [at] pressherald.com.
On Twitter: @susansaxelrod