During peak season the Orono farmers' market happens on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and produce junkie that I am, I usually make it to both. Lately there's been something new each time: first broccoli, then raspberries, now jalapeños. This week, I spotted the first blueberries of 2009. They were just picked Tuesday morning, and I couldn't leave without buying a quart.
Wild blueberries are smaller, sweeter, and better for you than the puffy cultivated berries available year-round. Maine's blueberries are almost as famous as its lobster, but berries are vegan and they don't pinch. As a great writer once noted, they're loved by small girls and baby bears.
This week was miserably warm and humid, and it's been hard to get excited about anything but smoothies and ice water. Pancakes and blueberry pie are out of the question, but cool, sweet sorbet hits the spot. I planned to make ice cream, adapting a recipe by substituting coconut milk for heavy cream. The end result was lighter and fruitier than I intended, but thanks to the coconut milk, it didn't freeze into a solid block like pure fruit and water sorbets. Lemon juice brightens the flavor, so a taste of this sorbet cools you down like dunking your head in a swimming pool.
Last night's dinner? Salad greens with walnuts, snowpeas, and FatFree Vegan's Blueberry Vinaigrette, followed by a generous helping of sorbet. I can't wait to pick up more berries tomorrow. When the weather breaks and I can turn on my oven again, you'll see plenty of wild blueberry muffins, pie, and preserves.
Wild Blueberry Sorbet
3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Put the blueberries, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stirring frequently, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside to steep for 30 minutes.
Purée mixture in a blender or food processor. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a mixing bowl or other container (you can save the seeds and pulp for smoothies). Place in the refrigerator until completely chilled, at least 3 hours.
When chilled, stir coconut milk and lemon juice into the blueberry mixture. Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions. Sorbet will be soft, but will firm up after several hours in the freezer.Makes about 1 quart.