On Saturday we made our annual pilgrimage to the nearest set of mountains to buy apples and pumpkins from people who have real orchards and real pumpkin patches and then have a picnic and walk in the woods. It was a gorgeous day and the woods were just right. The trail we always walk is quite short, chosen years ago by my father because it had the virtues of parking spaces, picnic tables, proper toilets and some history which could be learned, along with some ecology, via the self-guided tour sheet that is found in a little box at the trailhead. Frankly, I'm not sure how a single walk in the woods could better describe my father's requirements for a family trip.
The guided tour has not changed since I was a little girl. And when the tour is relaying the history of the family who lived in those woods there isn't much in need of change. But the ecology of that little piece of woodlands has changed quite a bit in the quarter century that I've known them. The woods are part of the National Park system, so the changes have all been for the better, as nature recovers and reasserts herself.
Saturday was a beautiful day and I wanted to share pictures, but my little camera seems to be reaching the end of its useful life, and the few pictures I was able to snap came out with color so out of balance it was beyond my ability to fix. So you will have to take my word for it that there are places where the trees grow tall and moss creeps further across the rocks every year, where toadstools build fairy cities on fallen trees and slowly turn them back into the soil from which they came.
Or maybe you should go out into the woods and find out for yourself. Take a snack in case you get hungry. These little muffins are wholesome and moist and tender and just a tiny bit of sweet.
Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins
1 ½ cups blueberries
1 Tablespoon flax seed meal
3 Tablespoons water
1/3 cup honey
¼ cup butter
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit
Butter 12 standard muffin cups.
If using fresh blueberries wash them and set aside. Frozen blueberries work beautifully here, but you'll want to leave them in the freezer until the last minute to preserve their shape and keep the juice inside the berries.
In a small bowl, stir together flax seed meal and water and set aside.
In a medium glass bowl or measuring cup, melt honey and butter together and allow to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and ginger.
Add the flax seed meal slurry, buttermilk and cider vinegar to the melted honey and butter. Combine thoroughly.
Pour the liquid into the flour and stir just a few times to moisten the flour. Add the blueberries and stir a few times more. Do not over-mix. Do not try to make the batter smooth. It is a very thick batter, especially if you use frozen blueberries.
Distribute the batter evenly in the muffin cups. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean (or merely coated in blueberry juice.) Check at the 20 minute mark and rotate the muffin tin if necessary to ensure even browning.
Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for about 5 minutes, and then remove gently to a rack to finish cooling.