Blueberry Heiress | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Blueberry Heiress

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Every summer, my mother and I head out to Oktibbeha County to pick blueberries. I even managed to snag one of the heirs to the blueberry farm as my first-grade boyfriend. After a year of phone calls and movie dates with our moms, it was apparent that I wasn't meant to be the next Blueberry Heiress of Oktibbeha County.

Nevertheless, my mom and I held on to our tradition of picking blueberries every summer until this year, when our mutual schedules wouldn't allow for it. When I realized that the picking season was quickly coming to a close, I tried to drag my husband to a local farm early one Saturday morning.

"Early" ended up being 11 a.m., and when we finally sauntered to the farm, we were informed they were all picked out of blueberries. But to my husband's delight, the blackberries were in season and were begging to be picked. I quickly discovered that the advantage of picking blueberries, as opposed to the precarious blackberry, is their accessibility. Blueberries are at eye level, and there are no thorns, making them easy for kids—and expecting mothers—to pick.

The key to a successful picking is to bring someone who picks better than you. When I was a child, my mother was better because I used the "one for me, one for the bucket" method. However, on our most recent adventure, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my husband is a talented blackberry picker. I had never seen my husband's picking abilities before and was quite impressed.

Though the Blueberry Heiress gig didn't work out when I was younger, I thought that it would benefit my family to plant a blueberry bush. The idea of having blueberries at your disposal whenever you wanted seemed like a dream come true. But to my dismay, my folks shot down the idea. At the time, I thought their reasoning had to do with the length of time it would take the bush to actually produce the delectable berry. But I've come to realize that my parents probably just didn't want to go through the hassle of watering another plant.

Now, 20-plus years later, one of my girlfriends is living my childhood dream. My friend, who is expecting a little girl later this year, recently celebrated a birthday. Her husband was so eager for her to see her gift, he surprised her a few days early with three blueberry bushes that he had planted in their backyard. He told her it was for her and their daughter to pick berries and make their own memories. Now, if that's not the sweetest thing you ever heard … but she didn't buy it. She told him there better be some jewelry hanging on those bushes, and explained to me that, "The blueberry-lovin' fool just wants them for himself." While I don't know if his actions were selfish or selfless, what she doesn't realize is that he made his wife and daughter-to-be Blueberry Heiresses. Every little girl's dream come true—or at least mine.

This recipe can be called a blueberry brunch cake or a blueberry pound cake—depending on what time of the day you want to eat it. It's great with coffee and even better with homemade peach ice cream.

Blueberry Cake
1 cup butter, (two sticks) softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lemon, zested
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat until fluffy. Add vanilla and zest of one lemon. Add the dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Dredge blueberries in 1/2 cup of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom. Gently fold berries into cake batter. Spray, or coat with butter, a 10-inch tube pan. Sprinkle one tablespoon of sugar on the bottom of the pan, then pour the cake batter in. Bake for one hour.

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