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Elements / One food, one dish

Blueberries are grown around the world, but most varieties are descendants from North American blueberries.

The original blueberry plants were shorter than the types developed, through selective breeding, to produce modern blueberries commercially. The native types, generally called "lowbush" blueberries, grow wild throughout the northeastern United States.

Lowbush blueberries grow up to about 2 feet high, and produce pea-sized fruit with a reputation for more pronounced berry flavor.

Most blueberries consumed by Americans are grown on "highbush" plants, which can grow to more than 10 feet. Highbush berries tend to be larger, up to grape-sized, and are much easier to harvest.

Great unwashed: Don't rinse off fresh blueberries until you are ready to use them, as the moisture will hasten spoilage. Fine blueberries are firm, not mushy.

Here's a recipe for blueberry pancakes, based on Alton Brown's recommended homemade pancake mix. (Substitute your favorite mix if desired.) Brown's recipe involves a little more work than just-add-water mixes, but it turns out remarkably light, fluffy cakes.

>Blueberry pancakes

For pancake mix:

6 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons sugar

Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to mix. (Use mix within 3 months.)


>For pancakes:

2 eggs, separated

2 cups buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 tablespoons melted butter

2 cups pancake mix (above)

1 stick butter, for greasing pan

2 cups blueberries or other fresh fruit

Heat an electric griddle or frying pan to 350 degrees. Heat oven to 200 degrees.

Whisk together the egg whites, vanilla and buttermilk in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the melted butter.

Combine the buttermilk mixture with the egg yolk mixture in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the pancake mix. Using a whisk, mix the batter just enough to bring it together. Don't try to work all the lumps out.

Check to see that the griddle is hot by placing a few drops of water onto the griddle. The griddle is ready if the water dances across the surface.

Lightly butter the griddle. Gently ladle the pancake batter onto the griddle and sprinkle on blueberries or other fruit. When bubbles begin to set around the edges of the pancake and the griddle-side of the cake is golden, gently flip the pancakes. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is set.

Serve immediately or remove to warm oven to wait for the rest to finish.


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