It is not yet the height of blueberry season, but we’re getting closer. If you watch the labels on your blueberries closely, you’ll notice during our winter months they first come from South America, then Central America, followed by our southern U.S. states, and on northward until we get to Canada come early fall — when we must wait a bit to begin the cycle all over again. I’ll eat this gorgeous fruit anytime of the year, but am especially berry in love when it’s time for the berries from the northern spots like Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Michigan, or Canada. That’s because berries like cool nights and I think those cooler northern places grow top shelf fruit. When blueberries are especially plentiful and the tastiest, they’re also at their least expensive. That lets me know it’s time to buy a bunch and freeze enough to last until next summer. And while we’re not there yet, I had already bought more than my husband could eat at breakfast on his yogurt with my homemade granola. They were beginning to soften and were even thinking of getting those stinky little white rings of mold on their bottoms. Two cups of near-heaven superfood needed to be saved. So one cup is enough for a dozen muffins; two cups calls for a loaf of blueberry bread. In this case I had a little strawberry jam called my baking name out loud as well, so I thought I’d tuck that into the center of the loaf and call it Strawberry Jam Filled Blueberry Bread, which is (you’re right) a mouthful. But no other name seemed to fit and I’m stuck with it. Thank goodness, because the name says exactly what it is and if that’ll make you preheat the oven and stir this up, I’m good. I do think any jam would do — even blueberry — but I happened to have the tail end of a jar of Bonne Maman strawberry preserves, which served royally well. (TIP: I reuse their jars as storage containers for months or even years as they are glass, go through the dishwasher, and come with tight, long-lasting red and white picnic-checked lids.)
Jump to Recipe
When you eat your first piece, you’re going to call me and ask why I named this a bread rather than a cake. Purely tradition, I’d say. As in banana bread, date bread, and so on. There’s also the hot need to eat something all cakey for breakfast without calling it “cake.” Truth to tell, tea breads or quick breads or muffins (same difference) do often have quite a bit less sugar than cakes. For instance, this blueberry bread has 3/4 cup sugar including the topping and excluding the jam –(you could skip either) — and my carrot cake without the frosting! has 2 cups of granulated sugar. So. I rest my “bread” case right there. My bread is nothing like a jam-filled donut (Berliners in Germany!) in danger of squishing strawberry goo all over your hands or plate. Instead, the jam is an accompaniment, an enhancer, just a little strawberry goodness inside the loaf; there’s only 1/3 cup spread out in a 9×5 pan. Trust me. You just need a great cup of coffee, a nice strong mug of tea, or even a glass of cold milk to call my treat…well, whatever you want to call it when you try this:
And now that you’ve looked through my could-be-better photos, you can print the recipe (or email it to yourself or your baking friend for later by clicking print and choosing email link) and get baking…
Strawberry Jam Filled Blueberry Bread
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon EACH ground ginger and ground cardamom-can sub cloves for the cardamom
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup milk
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) salted butter, at room temperature
- 1 egg
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1/3 cup strawberry jam mixed well w/ one teaspoon of water to thin it a bit for spreading
- PREP: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Set rack at center. Grease well a 9×5 loaf pan.
- MAKE THE TOPPING: Stir together the topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- MIX TOGETHER THE DRY INGREDIENTS: In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- BEAT TOGETHER THE WET INGREDIENTS+ADD DRY INGREDIENTS AND BERRIES/ZEST: In a large bowl using a sturdy wooden spoon or handheld electric mixer, or in the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together the sugar, milk, butter, and eggs until well combined. Stir or mix in the dry ingredients only until batter is blended and almost smooth. (Don’t mix too much or you’ll have tough bread.) Slowly fold in the blueberries and orange zest.
- TRANSFER HALF OF THE BATTER TO THE PREPARED PAN, spoon strawberry jam down the center in a stripe about 7-inches long and 1-2 inches wide (stop before the ends of the pan or the jam will leak out too much). Add the other half of the batter evenly in large spoonfuls and carefully spread it on top of the jam layer using a small offset spatula or a table knife or a rubber spatula, making sure the jam is as covered as possible. (If it peeps through a smidge here and there, it's ok—just do your best.)
- ADD THE TOPPING/BAKE/COOL: Sprinkle the top of the loaf evenly with the reserved topping. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until deep golden brown and a skewer stuck into the center comes out clean or nearly clean. Cool on a rack in the pan for about 10 minutes. To remove from the pan, run a small thin knife around the edges of the bread (the jam may have escaped here and there and stuck). Holding the pan by the edges with gloves or potholders, bang the pan firmly onto the counter or a board to loosen the bread. Turn out onto the rack and let cool completely before cutting. (I turn the pan upside down with my right hand while holding a potholder over the top of the loaf with my left and shake the pan with my right so the bread comes carefully out into my left hand without breaking. I then turn it over onto the rack right side-up to cool.) If you lose topping, scrape it up with a bench scraper or your hands and sprinkle it back on top.Store well-wrapped for 2 days on the counter, for a week in the fridge, or freeze double-wrapped for 2-3 months
Change it up: Captain Obvious first. Use chopped strawberries and blueberry jam instead. Sure. Why not? Swap in pecan or hazelnuts or even peanuts for the walnuts, which I just happened to have on my counter in a jar because you should put food like walnuts in your body daily. If you don’t like ginger or cardamom or cloves, try allspice, nutmeg, or mace. I haven’t tried it, but I’m pretty sure you could make muffins instead. Give them 15-20 minutes at 350 F, looking in first at 13-14. Lemon zest is the go-to for blueberries, so do it if you’ve no orange. Canned milk will work fine if you don’t keep fresh milk. I used fat-free FAIRLIFE milk, which is the high-protein, low-sugar milk I put in my coffee.
Cutting Food Costs (see graphic above): You’ll save here by buying when berries are in their best season as in S: Shop the sales. Freeze some, too, at that point. (Just toss them in gallon bags, get out all the air, seal well or double bag and stick them in the door of your freezer with a cup in them for easy access. Don’t wash before freezing; rinse just before using and bake with frozen berries.) Lowest prices might be at warehouse stores like COSTCO or SAM’S, but watch carefully and buy the berries you really like if you’re storing them for months and eating them all winter. You’re already keeping bucks in your wallet by cooking and eating at home for health, wealth, and happiness. Yay, you!! Did you write a menu this week and include this bread? You hit A right on the head, then. (Always plan…) If you’re making breakfast for dinner, this fits in E, too: Every week, have one breakfast … If you’re lucky enough to live where berries are grown, go picking. It’s fun, good exercise, and you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. For health’s sake, buy organic berries as they otherwise can carry a ton of pesticides. Ewwww.
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LIFE GOES ON:
One of our pastors today said he just felt “heavy” after the shootings in Buffalo yesterday. I agree. But I’ve also watched our own news and while we haven’t had a mass killing in Colorado Springs this week, there seems to be people getting killed or dying daily in our area. Sometimes I don’t want to listen to the news. I spent a minute checking my social media posts for the blog and saw the NYT headline, “Multiple Victims in California Church Shooting,” Police Say.
We had several fires (see map above) last Thursday –the one near Cripple Creek continues– while there were hurricane-force winds and low single-digit humidity. Some were human error — coals from a fire pit dumped over a fence (sigh), smoking materials left unextinguished, a sheriff’s deputy who drove a car over a field and the catalytic converter caught fire, and so on. One fire, out near the airport (which is south and east of town), closed the airport for a while or had folks shelter in place. My husband, Dave, was flying home from visiting his parents and almost couldn’t land in Colorado Springs, though he finally did albeit late. Our home, up on the mesa, is just barely east of the mountains (darker brown at left) where you see the Colorado Springs label (lighter tan at right). We’re in what’s called “the wildland urban interface” area. The dark red line through the towns is Interstate-25.
In better garden news, our basil, arugula, and lettuces are up in the window boxes. We’re stagger planting so we don’t have to harvest everything at once, but are also very careful to not plant too much due to watering costs. Herbs, lettuces, radishes, cherry tomatoes…those are lower-water crops we’re sure we can harvest within our short growing season. We have a wide variety of perennial herbs in the herb garden, as well as some rhubarb the deer have eaten down to the nub in their desire for water.
Thanks for sharing time in my kitchen; I’m grateful for your time and thought. Envision (or pray for if you pray) peace, rain, and while you’re at it, store shelves full of baby formula.
Bake this “bread!” just for grins and giggles,