Ironically, yesterday was National Blueberry Pie Day, and although I had no plans to make a blueberry pie, my friends at Crown Jewel Farms brought me a box of their gigantic organic blueberries, so the baking began!
A few short years ago, I didn’t know the difference between Florida blueberries and any other blueberry grown around the country. Likewise, I didn’t know what “organic” actually meant. Then, I became friends with a Florida blueberry farmer’s family.
As I’ve learned, Florida blueberries are quite different from other blueberries. In fact, many of the blueberry varieties grown in Florida were specifically developed by the University of Florida for the Florida climate. These berries don’t require as much cold weather to thrive and will produce berries much sooner than their counterparts around the country.
As for the “organic” label, like many people, I’ve seen organic labels in the supermarket and paid little attention. So, what does “organic” really mean? Simply stated, organic produce is grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge (YUCK!), genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or ionizing radiation (good grief!). Likewise, “organic” animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones. For someone with a kid who will eat twice as many blueberries as he picks, this is a good thing.
As far as baking is concerned, these blueberries made absolutely FABULOUS pies! Yes, they will be in my pies at National Pie Championships, and as a “Thank you” to my friends at the farm, I created them their very own blueberry pie recipe.
2 2/3 c. all-purpose flour-chilled
½ c. butter-chilled and cubed
½ c. Crisco shortening-chilled
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vinegar
¼- ½ c. ice cold water
1 TBSP water
1 TBSP sugar
In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter & shortening. Gradually add water until dough forms. Divide dough in half. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out half and line pie plate.
4 c. whole Crown Jewel Farms Organic Blueberries
2 c. strawberries-large chunks
2/3 c. sugar
½ c. brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
1/3 c. tapioca starch
In a bowl, gently combine all ingredients. Pour into prepared pie crust. After filled, roll our second half of dough. Cut into ½ inch strips and weave a lattice over pie filling. Trim dough and press to seal edges. Use leftover dough to cut shapes. Arrange shapes around edge. Create an egg wash of egg and 1 TBSP water. Brush over crust edges. Sprinkle top with sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees for 90 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling bubbles in the center.