Blueberries can be so luxurious. Especially when they’re preserved.
There is absolutely nothing like the smell, flavor, and beautiful color of blueberries stewing over a hot stovetop. They are this unique exception to the berry family, and are what I imagine to be the perfect representation of summer fruit. Actually, a perfect representation of a berry itself. Raspberries and blackberries carry their flavor and color in their juice, while blueberries stand alone in a way, they’re wearing these characteristics unpretentiously in the pigment of their skin. They’re unlike the rest.
I believe blueberries to be so overlooked sometimes, and it’s probably due to the tasteless ones we find in our supermarkets that have been shipped from Chile and Mexico. They’re just fine, whatever, and mostly tasteless.
And weird, they’re just fine, exactly that.
Overlooked is the way I am putting it, only because they’ve always been there, all year round. Though, when you first bite down into a locally picked blueberry, you can discern it from the average. A strong flavor from their skin is noticed immediately and this gritty peppery characteristic comes through when you’ve macerated it into bits upon your tongue. It’s this unexplainable, persistently sweet, and distinctive strangeness to them that other fruits don’t have. This is strange, but they kind of taste like if black pepper had a sweet, way more mild, and slighly tart baby. My kind of baby. I don’t think anyone has ever made that same black pepper relation before?
It’s a weird call, but perhaps there’s a better way in describing this flavor. With that said, I’m sure I could think of something else to say, though, with a slight chance of coming across like I’m out of my mind. I would risk it, I love explaining these details!
Blueberries freshly picked from a local farm in the summer are something very special and something to cherish, and I refuse to not pay attention to the power they have. Especially right now, with the remaining blueberries left over from the 3 pounds we had picked, I knew I wanted to make something subtly luxurious. I’m getting out of cake and muffin mode here, and into something different, and something versatile.
Or maybe it’s just my excuse to eat some cheese and bread. It could so be that too.
It’s until you decide to do something with the rest of the leftover berries that you realize how powerful these little gems are. When under their fire, the break down of the dark pigment within their skin is almost as if it melts into the green mushy fleshed center. And by powerful, I mean the color they possess. Who knew cooking blueberries could be so comforting, not only was the vibrance of this deep purple so incredible, but it was one of the best smells I have had come out of my kitchen in a while.
I’m just fascinated with the reaction they undergo when they’ve cooked down and their structure has loosened up, it’s a turning from a raw state into a gelatinous soupy one. Gorgeous. Once strained, you end up with this fully reduced, concentrated, dark black gel that’s just so interesting and pretty. You could pour this mixture into any mold and take on any shape you desire. I adore the process. And in the end, an amazingly concentrated blueberry flavor is achieved.
It’s just so fun to see their true color come through; a perfect little reaction that life shows us once again.
A yummy reaction, usually the only ones that are truly worth it.
Add a little bit more sugar and reduce the mixture until it’s seriously thick, let it set and cool, and that’s it. That’s paste.
It’s a beautifully dark, congealed, and heavenly mold of cooked blueberries, thats been used as a luxurious condiment to consume with cheese and spread on crackers or a baguette.
And there is nothing better than some creamy cheeses paired with the sweet flavor of blueberries in this concentrated state. We have a blueberry paste.
Wild Blueberry Paste
Makes 1/2 – 1 cup
12 oz blueberries (2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup white sugar
In a small saucepot, add the blueberries and water and cook on medium to low heat, stirring constantly, until the berries have cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Once this mixture is cooked down, place a large fine mesh sieve over another saucepot or the same washed pot and pour the mixture into the sieve. Force puree through sieve and scrape all sides of the mesh sieve until all the juices have been extracted and only the pulp remains.
Add the sugar to the pot of strained blueberries and continue to cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to pull away from the side of the pot, about 20 minutes. It should be fairly reduced, and able to coat the back of a spoon without much movement and dripping.
Pour the puree into desired mold and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Let cool. Wrap the mold loosely in plastic wrap and chill until it’s set, about 3 hours.
To remove the paste, run a paring knife around the inside edges of the mold and turn the paste over onto the serving platter.
Slice paste and serve with selected accompaniments.
May store up to two months. Keeps well wrapped in parchment paper wrapped with plastic wrap.