These berries are native only to North America, where blueberry pie is a euphemism for America; they can be frozen in a single layer (rinse before cooking, not freezing); they are related to the bilberry, huckleberry, blaeberry and cranberry, as well as the French myrtille.
When I was small, my Welsh grandmother used to make tarts with a fruit called a bilberry – little berries that grew wild, with purple flesh that yielded dark, deep-red juice. The blueberry is, apparently, its cousin, and grows wild in North America and Canada, but these are dark indigo-blue outside and inside the flesh is green.
The cultivated blueberries we buy here are larger, plump and juicy and very handsome to look at, and they are best and cheapest in the summer. In America, blueberries are served with buttermilk pancakes for breakfast, in pies and in blueberry muffins.
I used them in the recipe for Fromage Frais Creams with Red Fruit Compote – a lovely summery combination.
This wonderful summery compote is a great way to use up a glut of fruit if you grow your own or find some reduced in the shops. The joy of it is that you can use any fruit you like.
Predominantly fruit, this is a healthy summery dessert to serve to dieters who often feel they miss out on the pudding front. You can use any fruit combination you like - the lemon grass adds a subtle and intriguing element.
Any of our muffin recipes can be adapted to any fruit, and blueberries have always been popular, so in this recipe I decided, instead of making muffins, I’d use the mixture to make a cake, which has turned out to be a real winner!