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Blueberries pack this homey dessert

Recipe: Blueberry buckle has a touch of sour cream

Slice of blueberry coffeecake
Blueberry buckle is chock full of juicy fruit. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Blueberries in colander
Our blueberry season is ending. It's a great time to
make a buckle.

Blueberry season is wrapping up now in California. The fact that there is even such a thing as a "California blueberry season" is thanks to modern hybridizing, which created blueberry varieties that require less chill to produce fruit.

Packed with antioxidants, blueberries rank among the healthiest foods you can grow. That's helped make blueberries best sellers in produce markets and farmstands.

As the popularity of blueberries soared, so did planting. That's increased availability, too.

How to enjoy all those late-season blueberries? This buckle is a twist on an old-fashioned favorite (the difference is sour cream). Basically a giant biscuit with the fruit baked inside, blueberry buckle belongs to the same family of homey coffee cakes and desserts as cobblers, betties and crisps -- all with evocative names. Most of then have a crumbly topping, too.
How do blueberries "buckle"? As it cooks, the fresh blueberries turn into ooey, gooey, juicy filling, encased by sugary biscuit. Fruit packs this easy comfort food -- no ice cream or whipped cream necessary.

Chopped peaches, apples or pears may be substituted for the blueberries.

Pan with blueberry batter
This homey dessert goes together quickly.
Don't forget the sugary topping!
Blueberry buckle
Makes 9 servings


1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup low-fat milk
2 cups blueberries

For topping;
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Grease a 9-inch square baking dish; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together shortening and 3/4 cup sugar. Beat egg and add to mixture.

Baked blueberry buckle
This buckle is fresh out of the oven. Let it cool for a bit.

Sift together 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Stir together sour cream and milk. Add flour mixture and sour cream mixture alternately to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Batter will be stiff. Gently fold in blueberries.

Spread batter into prepared baking dish.

Make topping: In a medium bowl, stir together 2/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour and cinnamon. Cut butter into cubes, then cut butter into mixture until crumbly. Spread topping over blueberry mixture in baking dish.
Place dish on baking sheet to catch any overflow from fruit. Bake at 375 degrees in center of oven for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until topping is golden and a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean (at least batter-wise -- the blueberries will be juicy).

Let cool a few minutes before serving. Cut into nine 3-by-3-inch pieces.


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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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