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The Fruitful Bounties of July!

Summer is my favorite season… as a child it was about being outdoors for the long extended days with my sisters and brotherswimming, hiking, and playing all day, catching fireflies in the twilight, going to bed late…  Now I still love summer for the added daylight, but especially for the fresh produce that is part of our family’s everyday “meal plan”. 

We sell our granola at several local farmers markets where we also have the opportunity to purchase the freshest organic fruits and vegetables produced in the area.  I really look forward to July when some of the fruits – blueberries, cherries and peaches in particular – are at their peak.  We see customers lined up at least ½ an hour prior to the markets’ openings to purchase several quarts before the sellers run out!

There are so many ways to enjoy these gifts of summer – whether eating them right out of the box or making them into something delicious with our granola!  My breakfast consists of Four Plus Granola (whatever we have on hand at home)a huge handful of seasonal berries, and almond milk.  Other family members make parfaits with yogurt and berries, or fruit smoothies, both topped with granola.  But I love making desserts, and I use our granola and these delicious fruits in many versions of crisps, cobblers, tarts, muffins and breads.   

Here is how I make Four Plus Blueberry Peach Crisp/Crumble: 

*  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees 

*  Butter/spray a large baking dish (2 qt.) or 8 ramekins; place on baking pan covered with parchment paper or mat 

For the filling: 

cups blueberries and sliced peaches (skin off) 

1 tsp. grated lemon zest  

For the crumble: 

½ cup all-purpose flour 

½ cup granulated sugar 
½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed 
1 cup Four Plus Granola (I use Vanilla Almond, but Honey Maple also works well) 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional) 
¾ teaspoon kosher salt 
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature 

In a large bowl, toss together the berries, peaches and lemon zest. Spoon into the prepared pan or ramekins. 

For the crumble, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, Four Plus Granola, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix it on low speed until the mixture is crumbly. (Alternatively, you can work the mixture with your fingers until pea-sized crumbles are formed).  Bake for about 40 minutes, until the juices are bubbly and the topping is browned. Serve warm on its own or with a small scoop of ice cream. 

You can make many variations of this recipe depending on the season – Apples in the fall and year-round, cherries and nectarines in early summer, berries in later summer. I like to use Vanilla Almond with this recipe, but you should mix this into the crumble by hand gently as the sliced almonds are “delicate” and break easily; Apple Cinnamon and Cranberry Nut are a good fit for an apple version; Honey Maple or Nutty with anything! 

Many recipes call for the addition of sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice to the berry mix  but I think the fruit itself provides all the sweetness you need, especially when combined with the sweet crumble topping. 

I hope you enjoy summer’s bounty of fresh fruits and my crumble recipe as much as I do!