Apex Farmers' Market will kick off the North Carolina blueberry season with a blueberry festival and blueberry pancake breakfast. (Yum!)
Apex Kiwanis Club will be serving up pancakes with or without blueberries during the market hours - 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday - or while supplies last. There also will be live Irish folk music, The Freezing Pointe Ice Cream (serving blueberry ice cream!), kids activities hosted by Wake Academy, blueberry treats and seed kits to take home.
Of course, you also can shop the market and take home some locally grown blueberries. If you do, try this recipe from one of the market's vendors, Henri Thomas of Natural Soap Cauldron, for blueberry bars. Thank you to Val Creager, who helps to put the market together, for sending this one over to me! The market is at 220 N. Salem St., Apex.
Healthy Blueberry Bars
Yield: 1 8x8 inch pan (16 small or 9 large)
Total Time: 55 minutes (plus cool time)
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup white or whole wheat flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar (or less if you prefer)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of salt
6 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or 6 tablespoons melted butter)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice (from about 1/2 small lemon)
1 tablespoon honey (or agave or granulated sugar)
2 cups blueberries
Place a rack in the center of your oven and heat to 375 degrees F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with parchment paper so that the paper overhangs two sides like "handles."
In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour in the melted coconut oil or butter and stir until it forms clumps and the dry ingredients are evenly mixed. Set aside 1/2 cup of the crumble mixture, then press the rest into an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan.
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, combine blueberries, lemon or lime juice, honey or sugar and corn starch. Heat and stir for about 5 minutes until fruit begins to thicken.
Pour fruit mixture over the bottom layer in prepared pan. Sprinkle remainder of dry ingredients on top. Gently press the crumb down into the fruit.
Bake the bars for 35 to 40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbly and the crumb topping smells toasty and looks golden. Place the pan on a wire rack or in the refrigerator to cool completely.
Once cooled, use the parchment paper handles to lift the bars from the pan. Slice and serve. Store in sealed container in the refrigerator.
*Recipe can be doubled and prepared in a 9x13 pan.
*A variety of fruits can be used. Mix blueberries and raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, blueberries and strawberries, etc.
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