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Dining In: Perfect for the 4th of July

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Local blueberries are here and ready for picking, eating and baking.

Pick-your-own signs have gone up at Manoff Market Gardens and Solebury Orchards, both in Solebury, Shady Brook Farm outside Yardley, Wildemore Farm in Chalfont, Brumbaugh’s Farm in Telford and Snipes Farm in Morrisville. In New Jersey, Terhune Orchards in Princeton and Haines Berry Farm in Pemberton both have pick-your-own berries.

It’s a good idea to call ahead for availability; some farms take a break between pickings while they wait for more fruit to ripen.

If you prefer to buy yours already picked, the farms have those too, including Bechdolt Orchards in Hellertown and Solly Farm in Ivyland. Some local farmers markets also carry blueberries.

Unlike the short-lived strawberry season, blueberries will be available through the month of July and possibly into August, depending on the varieties planted by farmers. And the New Jersey crop is so plentiful that you will find them in supermarkets for a while.

Nutrient-rich blueberries are the latest in the parade of local berries. Next up will be raspberries and black raspberries, then blackberries. Some local farms also have been harvesting sour cherries, although that season is very short.

Just in time for the Fourth of July here is this recipe from tasteofhome.com for a star-spangled pie. If you don’t have time to make your own crust, pick up one in the refrigerator section of the supermarket. Tip: the stars can be baked a day in advance and placed on the finished pie.

Star-Studded Blueberry Pie

Pastry for double-crust pie
(9 inches)
4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup sugar
¼ cup quick-cooking tapioca
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter

1. On a lightly floured surface, roll one half of pie dough to a 1/8-inch-thick circle; transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Trim pastry even with rim; flute edge. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Leave remaining pie dough refrigerated.
2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine blueberries, sugar, tapioca, lemon juice and salt; toss gently. Let stand for 15 minutes.
3. Add filling to pie pastry; dot with butter. Bake 20 minutes on a lower oven rack. Reduce heat to 350 degrees; bake 10 minutes more. Cover edges loosely with foil to prevent burning. Return to lower rack of oven; bake 15 to 20 minutes longer, until blueberries are bubbly and beginning to burst. Cool on a wire rack.
4. Roll remaining dough to a 1/8-inch-thick circle. Cut out stars using different-sized cookie cutters as desired. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool. Place stars over cooled pie in any pattern desired.

Five-Minute Blueberry Syrup

This is a quick recipe from mostlyhomemademom.com that works on pancakes, waffles, pound cake, French toast or ice cream.
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1 pint (2 cups) fresh or frozen
blueberries no need to thaw

1. In the bottom of a saucepan, stir together sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in water.
2. Stir in blueberries and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool (it will thicken more as it cools). Serve warm over pancakes or ice cream. Store cooled leftover syrup in the fridge.

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