Wild find

Like native strawberries, wild blueberries are one of those fleeting New England fruits that remind me to cherish every bit of summer. They're much smaller than the cultivated variety, but bursting with more intense, sweet-tart blueberry flavor. Pints of the tiny berries usually start appearing (with a hefty price tag) in mid-July, and can be found in specialty produce markets and farm stands in northern New England until mid to late August.

I can never seem to get enough, which is why I was thrilled when my husband and I discovered a sprawling patch of the ripening fruit on a recent walk in the woods (location purposely undisclosed!). One minute we were gabbing away and briskly stomping on sticks and rocks, the next we were in a zen-like trance, trying to outdo each other as we filled up our empty water bottles. There were so many, it was hard to stop.

Just a small portion of our berry windfall

Just a small portion of our berry windfall

After 45 minutes of hunched-over picking, we ended up with about two pints worth of the foraged berries. And that doesn't include the handfuls we snacked on while we hiked back home. We savored the hard-earned fruits of our labor—they were popped straight down the gullet, tossed onto yogurt, and most notably, sprinkled into these healthful pancakes. Quintessential summer. Quintessential New England.

 

Recipe for spelt pancakes with wild blueberries

This is my go-to pancake batter that is based on my sister-in-law Carol's recipe. I like to play around with different types of flours and flavorings. Try half flour and half cornmeal, or add a little lemon zest and a tablespoon or two of sugar. It's very versatile.

Serves 6

4 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for serving

1 cup spelt flour

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs

2-2/1/2 cups buttermilk

vegetable oil for greasing skillet

1 1/2 cups wild blueberries

 

1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and allow to cool.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and melted butter. Add 2 cups of the buttermilk and whisk to combine.

4. Add the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Add more buttermilk, if necessary, to reach a pourable consistency.

5. While the batter rests, heat a cast iron pan or griddle over medium heat and brush with a small amount of vegetable oil. When the skillet is hot, pour about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake, top with a handful of blueberries, and flip when bubbles begin to form. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Serve with real maple syrup, soft butter, and extra blueberries.