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How to make bilberry muffins

Bilberries can have a sour taste, and although they can be eaten on their own, they're usually more enjoyable when they've been cooked. Here, Chris Naylor shares his recipe for making bilberry muffins.

Muffins. © Peter Dazeley/Getty

Bilberries — also known as European blueberries or huckleberries — are little blue-black berries that grow on small, wiry shrubs above the ground.

You’d be forgiven for confusing it with a blueberry, but the two fruits are different. Whereas blueberries are light green inside, bilberries have a deep blue-purple-coloured flesh, and are much juicier.

Bilberry. © Arterra/Universal Images Group/Getty
Bilberry. © Arterra/Universal Images Group/Getty

If you want to forage for bilberries, they can be found in later summer and early autumn. However, they don’t grow in great quantities, so they can be hard to find.

If you’re lucky enough to spot some, you might find it takes time to pick the berries by hand, but their deliciously tart taste and health properties make them well worth it.

Dandelion syrup. © Ulyana Khorunsha/Shutterstock
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Ingredients

  • Butter 100 g
  • White caster sugar 150 g
  • Eggs 2
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Vanilla essence 1 tsp
  • Milk 100 ml
  • Plain flour 280 g
  • Baking powder 2 tsp
  • Pinch of salt
  • Bilberries 100 g, washed

Method

  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 160˚C/320˚F/gas mark 3 and line a muffin tin with paper cases.

  • Step 2

    Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Then add the egg, lemon zest and vanilla essence, and beat again until combined.

  • Step 3

    Add the milk to the mixture and beat until it is fully incorporated.

  • Step 4

    In a separate bowl, sieve the flour, baking powder and salt, and stir together. Then add it into the wet ingredients and fold it in with a metal spoon until combined. Then stir in the bilberries.

  • Step 5

    Divide the mixture between the muffin cases and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a skewer comes out clean.

  • Step 6

    Remove the tin and allow the muffins to cool on a rack. Keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

    Muffins. © Peter Dazeley/Getty
    Muffins. © Peter Dazeley/Getty

This is a recipe from Go Wild: Find freedom and adventure in the great outdoors by Chris Naylor, published by Summersdale.

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