blueberry

LunaGrown Jam

by Anne Maxfield on July 23, 2018

Accidental Locavore LunaGrown Jam and BookIf you love jam, you have to love a brand that’s named for its (rescue) dog!

LunaGrown Jam is named for founder Christopher Wilson’s dog Luna, a rescue from a shelter in da Bronx. Let loose on the farm, she headed out, later to be found munching on a wild blueberry bush and a jam company got it’s name.

Located in Cuddlebackville (yes, it’s a real place) in the Western part of the Hudson Valley, LunaGrown utilizes a few acres on a private farm, and procures from “local growers who share our views on responsible and sustainable farming.”

All the jams are made in small batches, no more than 24 jars to a batch. The jams are mostly traditional flavors. There’s a New York Grape which uses local Concord, Candice and Riesling grapes to give it a full-bodied flavor. Other traditional offerings include, strawberry, cherry and blackberry.

On a more exotic front, you can delight in Lemon Marmalade with Lavender, Honey Mango or Pineapple Jams.

I was the lucky recipient of a lovely gift box, with jars of Blueberry and Spiced Fig Jams and founder Christopher Wilson’s book Beyond the Bread. It’s a guidebook/cookbook and has hundreds of ideas for pairing jams with cheeses, wines and even beers. There are sections on making your own beverages using jams, long with recipes to put all the flavors to some new uses.

Accidental Locavore LunaGrown Jam I immediately opened the blueberry and basically ate it out of the jar. It was great—not too sweet and not too thick—just lots of pure blueberry flavor.

The spiced fig jam was delicious. Figs (which I love) and a hint of spice-mostly cinnamon. My husband said it reminded him of a Fig Newton which was his favorite cookie growing up. I liked it because it had great fig taste without being too sweet. That morning I added it to my yogurt with some granola—a great way to start the day!

Now I’m ready to get more experimental, with a suggestion from the book to spread the fig jam on warm whole wheat pita bread along with “a generous portion of fresh spinach and feta cheese, served with a balsamic vinaigrette.” Sounds great, doesn’t it?

The jams come packaged in gift-worthy boxes, reflecting Christopher’s background as a visual designer and would make great presents for anyone who loves jam.

LunaGrown is available on their website, or retailers in the Hudson Valley, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Check their website for events and retailers in your area and enjoy!

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Blueberry Breakfast Casserole Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on August 11, 2016

Accidental Locavore NJ BlueberriesIf you happen to be in the Hudson Valley and it’s blueberry season, you owe it to yourself to either stop at the Friday Milan farmers’ market or search out Mead Orchards. The Accidental Locavore doesn’t know what makes their blueberries so much better than any others, but they are!

We had houseguests and I wanted an easy breakfast dish for vegetarians. This was on the Kitchn site recently. It says it serves 8-10 – maybe not (see below).

Accidental Locavore Blueberry CasseroleFor the blueberry casserole:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Finely grated zest from 1 medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Cooking spray or butter for greasing the pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

For the streusel:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Accidental Locavore Blueberry Breakfast CasseroleMake the casserole: Whisk 2 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the eggs, buttermilk, milk, melted butter, lemon juice, and zest. Stir until just barely combined. Do not overmix — the batter will be lumpy. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight. You can also skip the overnight rest and bake the casserole immediately.

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray.

Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl. Fold the mixture into the buttermilk mixture until just combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the blueberries; set aside.

Make the streusel: Whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Add the butter and use a fork or your fingers to work the ingredients together until well-combined and crumbly. Sprinkle it evenly over the casserole.

Bake until golden-brown, the casserole starts to pull away from the sides of the dish, and the top springs back gently when touched, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Finished Blueberry CasseroleMy verdict: A big hit! While the recipe says it serves 8-10, five of us polished off all but two servings (which were eagerly reheated the next morning). You can easily put the dough and the streusel together the night before and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake. Having great blueberries was a help, but since you’re cooking them, even okay blueberries would work. Other summer fruit or berries, even apples in the fall, would probably all work well.

Remembering that the original recipe had “pancake” in the title, I thought a little maple syrup might be called for. It was totally unnecessary but really good!

 

 

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Dannon “Cow to Cup” Creamy Yogurt

by Anne Maxfield on March 3, 2014

Accidental Locavore Dannon YogurtRecently a huge box full of yogurt was dropped off on my doorstep, giving the Accidental Locavore the chance to taste Dannon Creamy Yogurt, a new product. What makes this yogurt unique is that Dannon sources all the milk from a single dairy, the family owned-and-operated McCarty Farms in Colby, Kansas, in a program they call Cow to Cup (cute, right?). And if (like me) you weren’t sure, you’ll be pleased to know that all milk used in Dannon products is hormone-free.

My preference usually is for plain, which lets me add my own flavors – usually blueberries and some homemade granola, but transitioning to peaches and a rainbow of fresh berries in the summer. I like the tang of plain yogurt and generally make my own, but on occasion flavored yogurt is a nice change. The new Creamy Yogurt comes in multi-packs of 18 with six each of blueberry, peach and strawberry.

How does it taste? The peach has a slightly sweet, not overwhelming, peach taste. Creamy and smooth, it’s almost like a yogurt pudding. The color is interesting – kind of a throwback to the 50s and 60s sherbet colors. I like the fact that this is a blended yogurt, so no mixing or lumps of yogurt and fruit.

Accidental Locavore Peach YogurtMy husband, who only occasionally eats yogurt, sat right down with a blueberry one. “Creamy” was his verdict. Like the peach, the blueberry flavor isn’t strong but it has good blueberry flavor – fresh and not overly sweet. Of the three it would be the one I would gravitate to first, but by a narrow margin over the peach.

Strawberry is usually low on my list.  As much as I love fresh strawberries, they are like bananas or coffee – all something I prefer to eat in their natural state. The strawberry yogurt was the most artificial tasting of the three and I might not have immediately recognized it as strawberry in a blind tasting (although, since it was being consumed at 4:00 in the morning, it could easily be considered a blind tasting).

My friend (not being a peach fan) took home some of the strawberry and blueberry yogurt. She really enjoyed both of them, “the flavors were light and not overpowering” and liked the how creamy they were. After feeding some to her granddaughter, this was the reaction: “Baby Eila loved it as well. She ate half the container, got full and then played with the other half, as she finger painted herself with the yogurt.”

If you want to pick up some of this Dannon Creamy Yogurt, it’s exclusive to Sam’s Clubs nation-wide.

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