One of my favourite ways to spend a Saturday morning in the summertime is a trip to the farmer's market. I like to pop down as soon as the market opens to pick up a few ingredients for the weekend, and maybe a few fresh-baked treats to take home for breakfast.
My local market at Withrow Park may not be quite as impressive as the larger markets in Toronto like the Brickworks or St Lawrence, but the handful of vendors selling fresh produce can always be counted on to bring a few unique locally-grown options that I can't find at the supermarket.
So far this year, I've scored bundles of fresh garlic scapes, tender baby leaves of red-veined sorrel, elegant white-tipped French breakfast radishes, sweet peas, and my newest obsession - tubs of gorgeous dark purple haskap berries from Farmer Jay at Danbrie Farms.
Honestly, I could happily just snack on these little purple jewels all day long, but the season is short and I wanted to find ways to make it last a little longer. So I've been playing around with a few ideas to keep them going long after the season is done.
The first of my experiments was these tender little sour cream muffins flavoured with just a little lemon zest and dotted all over with berries. They're light and fluffy and not too sweet, which makes them perfect for a quick weekday breakfast. You can make them with fresh berries, like I did, but they also work with frozen berries.
What's a Haskap Berry, Anyway?
Haskap is the name given to several varieties of edible honeyberries bred by the University of Saskatchewan over the last 15 years or so, which makes them an honest-to-goodness Canadian invention.
They look like a long, skinny blueberry, but they're actually more closely related to elderberries. They're soft-skinned and quite juicy, and have a sweet and surprisingly tangy flavour, kind of like a cross between a blueberry and a cranberry.
Haskap season runs from late June to mid-July, but fresh berries can be frozen for use at a later date.
To freeze, spread the berries out in a single layer on a baking sheet or jelly-roll pan, and pop into the freezer for a couple hours or until frozen all the way through, then transfer to a large freezer bag or airtight container. They'll keep in the freezer for up to a year.
Cooking with Haskaps
You can use haskaps pretty much anywhere you'd use fresh blueberries or other fresh summer berries, though in some recipes you may want to add a little extra sugar to compensate for their tartness.
Try them as a filling in pies or crumbles, stir them into your favourite cake or muffin recipe, add them to a smoothie, or cook them down into a simple sauce and then drizzle onto pancakes, ice cream or pretty much anything else your heart desires.
For a little extra inspiration, here are a few delicious ideas from other bloggers:
These sour cream muffins are fluffy and not too sweet, perfect for showing off the tangy flavour of fresh haskap berries. You can also substitute fresh blueberries, raspberries or strawberries if you can't get your hands on haskaps.
- 1 ¾ cups flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup full-fat sour cream
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup fresh haskap berries
- Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease the cups of a 12-cup muffin tin, or line with paper liners.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, egg, milk, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients, stirring until just barely combined. Fold in the haskap berries.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups. (The cups should be roughly ¾ full.) Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until tops are golden-brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
You can also make these muffins using frozen berries, if that's what you have on hand. Add them straight from the freezer, and add an extra 5 minutes of baking time to compensate for the temperature difference.
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Canadian