We have this family tradition of going blueberry picking in the days after Christmas. We all love berries around here with blueberries topping the list so we like to keep the fridge full, with an overflow to the freezer for winter use. We choose our berry picking day carefully, after the berry farm has been closed for several days, and got there nice and early – often to find we aren’t the only berry lovers with this idea! Luckily this year there was more than enough to go around, the bushes were so laden with berries within an hour we had picked close to 8kg from 5 bushes! Our bellies and freezer are now bursting at the sides.
When I have a glut of fresh blueberries the only thing I can think of making is magical blueberry jelly. A raw foodie friend of mine introduced me to this idea about 12 years ago when I was a budding wholefood nutrition student. I love that it is made completely from blueberries, with a little sweetener if desired. There are no added setting agents as the blueberries contain plant compounds that set once chilled into a dark luxurious jelly. I shared this jelly on a TV segment several years ago and the film crew were blown away that the jelly stayed in the bowl when I tipped it upside down!
It is best to use fresh berries for making the jelly, however, thawed frozen berries can also be used although the resulting jelly will be a darker in colour and lose its setting qualities faster. If you don’t want to make the whole cake then please do try making the jelly just so you can be wowed by the magic of nature. Simply whiz up a punnet or two of fresh blueberries and pour into glasses to set. Top with thick Greek or coconut yogurt and a little grated dark chocolate or cacao nibs and enjoy!
A few more blueberry recipes from the Homegrown Kitchen archives + Whānau Living:
A Purple Cake – Raw Berry Cheesecake (very similar to this jelly cake but the berries are added to the filling rather than made into a jelly layer)
Blueberry Jelly and Raw Chocolate Mousse – Whānau Living Season One
This makes a large cake which is best shared with friends. Any extra cake slices can be frozen and enjoyed as a frozen treat on a hot summer day.
1 cup raw hazelnuts
1 cup raw desiccated coconut
1/2 cup pitted dates*
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
pinch of unrefined salt
1 tablespoon good-quality cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cocoa nibs
1 cup cashews, soaked 3 - 4 hours
approx. 3/4 cup creamed coconut (see note)
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, softened if needed
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons raw honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
- *If the dates are very hard soak in boiling water for 10 minutes then drain well.
- Line the base of a 20cm spring-form cake tin with baking paper and lightly grease the sides with coconut oil.
- Make the base. Process the nuts and coconut into a course meal. Add the remaining base ingredients and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed. Press firmly into the prepared cake tin, using a spatula to smooth. Chill while preparing the creamy layer.
- Drain and rinse the soaked cashews in a sieve and place into the clean food processor bowl. Add the creamed coconut, coconut oil, honey, lemon juice and vanilla and process until silky smooth. This will take 2 - 3 minutes, stopping several times to scrap down the sides. Pour over the base and chill for at least one hour to set.
- Blueberry jelly layer. Blend the blueberries, lemon juice and honey until smooth. Pour evenly over the creamy layer. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour to set. To serve, slice into thin wedges and eat immediately. Keep any extra cake chilled as it will start to soften at room temperature. Consume within 3 days, or freeze cake wedges and eat within 2 weeks.
CREAMED COCONUT: This is the thick creamy part of a can of coconut cream. Use a natural brand without the addition of emulsifiers so it separates well. At least 4 hours before making the cake put a can of coconut cream into the fridge upside-down. When ready to use open the top of the can, tip out the milky liquid (reserve for using in a curry or smoothie) and scoop out the thick coconut cream (creamed coconut) at the bottom of the can. Depending on the brand you will get approx. 3/4 cup per can, use all of it, the more the better.