The NC Blueberry Festival is the weekend of June 15th in Burgaw and if you’re looking to purchase lots of blueberries, here’s how to freeze them: Do not rinse the blueberries, spread the berries out on flat pans, removing any leaves or debris, then place in the freezer and freeze until frozen, then pour into sealable containers usually holding one or two cups of berries for ready use in a recipe.

The NC Blueberry Festival is the weekend of June 15th in Burgaw and if you’re looking to purchase lots of blueberries, here’s how to freeze them: Do not rinse the blueberries, spread the berries out on flat pans, removing any leaves or debris, then place in the freezer and freeze until frozen, then pour into sealable containers usually holding one or two cups of berries for ready use in a recipe.

The Blueberry Festival ladies will also be selling copies of their blueberry cookbook of entries to the festival competition. This is the 10th anniversary of the NC Blueberry Festival, so come and enjoy! It gets bigger every year. Get your blueberries early, because they do sell out quickly.

These little blue gems are full of antioxidants to help fight cancer. Researchers state that blueberries reverse age-related memory loss, because of its antioxidants called flavonoids.

 Blueberries are tasty in anything you want to put them in: puddings, cakes, breads, muffins, salads, sauces, salsas, jams, smoothies, and even plain over oatmeal. Try your favorite dish and see how tasty and healthy it is for you. Pender County is the second largest grower of blueberries in North Carolina.

Here’ a facial skin smoothing scrub recipe: 2 teaspoons pureed blueberries, 2 cups brown sugar, and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Mix together in a bowl and apply to your face. The blueberries soften the skin, sugar exfoliates the skin and lemon juice brightens the skin.


Blueberry- Cheese Danish Pastries

I won First place for this recipe at the NC Blueberry Festival in 2012.

1        package (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

4        ounces cream cheese, softened

3        tablespoons sugar

1        pint blueberries

¼       (one fourth) cup granulated sugar

1        teaspoon lemon juice

1        egg white, beaten

1        tablespoon granulated sugar

In a saucepan combine ¼ cup sugar and blueberries with lemon juice and cook over medium high heat for about 12 minutes stirring continuously. Set aside.

Beat together cream cheese and 3- tablespoons sugar until creamy.

Vegetable spray a baking sheet. Unroll crescent rolls into 4 rectangles, firmly pressing perforations together to seal. Lay on baking sheet. Dividing cheese mixture into fourths, put ¼ (one fourth) in the center of each dough rectangle. Top with 1/4 (one fourth) of blueberry jam.  Pull up opposite corners of rectangles and press together to seal. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar

Bake in 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Let sit for 20-30 minutes then serve.


Lemon Blueberry Tea Bread

I entered this bread in the NC Blueberry Festival.

1 ½    (one and one half) cups flour

1        teaspoon baking powder

¼       (one fourth) teaspoon salt

1        teaspoon grated lemon peel (zest)

6        tablespoons butter, softened

1        cup granulated sugar

1        tablespoon lemon juice

2        eggs, slightly beaten

½       (one half) cup milk

½       (one half) cup blueberries

Lemon Glaze

¼       (one fourth) cup granulated sugar

3        tablespoons lemon juice

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in lemon peel, set aside. In larger mixer bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and lemon juice on medium speed until mixture holds together. Add eggs; beat until very light and fluffy.

With mixer at low speed, add 1/4 (one fourth) of flour mixture alternately with 1/3 (one third) of milk (beginning and ending with flour mixture). Beating after each addition just until combined. Stir in blueberries.

 Pour batter into 9 x 5 inch loaf pan that has been coated with no-stick cooking spray. Smooth top of batter. Bake in 325 degree oven until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 60 minutes. Cool bread in pan for 5 minutes on rack. Remove from pan and place on rack. With a thin skewer pierce entire surface of bread. Brush lemon glaze over top until all glaze is absorbed. Cool completely.

Lemon glaze: Combine sugar and lemon juice in 2- cup glass measuring cup.  Microwave (high) for 30 to 45 seconds. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.


Blueberry Cheesecake

I won a ribbon on this cheesecake at the NC Blueberry Festival.

Prepare cheesecake one day before serving:


1 1/2 (one and one half) cups graham cracker crumbs

6    tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 (one fourth) cup granulated sugar

1   teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, sugar, and butter. Reserve 1/2 (one half) cup of mixture for topping. Press mixture into a glass or ceramic 9” by 13” baking dish. Press mixture up 1/2” (one half) on the sides of the dish. Bake for 8 minutes until lightly browned. Set out to cool.


3   8 -ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature

1   cup sugar

3   large eggs, room temperature

1   cup sour cream

1   teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 (one and one half) cups fresh blueberries


1   cup canned blueberry pie filling

In a large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, and sugar until creamy, approximately 2 to 4 minutes. Add sour cream and beat about 30 seconds or until blended. Gently fold in blueberries distributing evenly.

Pour cream cheese and blueberry mixture over crust and spread evenly. Bake 20 minutes in a 350 degrees oven. Remove cheesecake from oven and sprinkle top with reserved graham cracker crumb mixture. Return to oven and bake 25 minutes longer. Turn oven off and leave cheesecake in oven for 1- hour, do not open door. Remove and cool completely on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled at least 3-4 hours or overnight.

Canned blueberry topping for the top of the cake may be spread in a rectangular design on top or just evenly spread over the entire top. Cut into squares and serve.


No Bake Blueberry Cheesecake Dessert


1 1/2 (one and one half) cups graham cracker crumbs

1/3 (one third) stick butter, melted

2        tablespoons granulated sugar


2        package. ( 8 ounces each) cream cheese

1/4     (one fourth) cup granulated sugar

2        cups blueberries

1        container (8 ounces) whipped topping, thawed

•   Optional: You may use low fat and low sugar items for this recipe if desired.

Mix graham crumbs, butter and sugar; press firmly into an 8” pie plate. Bake in 350 degree oven for 8 minutes. Cool.

Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Mash drained blueberries with fork, stir into cheese mixture. Stir in 2 cups of Cool Whip. Gently spoon over baked graham cracker crust.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until firm.

Decorate with leftover blueberries on top.


Blueberry Chicken Salad

Serves 4.

2        cups fresh blueberries

2 ½ (two and one half) cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded

2        stalks celery, chopped

½ (one half) orange bell pepper, seeded, rinsed and diced

2        scallions, finely chopped, light parts only

1/3 (one third) cup Vidalia or sweet onion, finely chopped

1        6-ounce container of lemon yogurt

3-4     tablespoons mayonnaise

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

¼ (one fourth) cup cilantro, finely chopped (Optional)

Boston lettuce leaves

Fresh blueberries for garnish

In a large salad bowl gently combine together cooked chopped chicken, diced orange pepper, celery, onion, scallions, and blueberries. In a bowl whisk together lemon yogurt, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Drizzle salad dressing over chicken mixture and gently toss to coat.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for an hour. Serve on lettuce lined plates and top with fresh blueberries for garnish.


Blueberry Sherbert

2        cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1        cup milk

1        tablespoon lemon juice

½ (one half) cup granulated sugar

1        teaspoon vanilla extract

blueberry/peach/raspberry and cinnamon sauce, garnish (Optional)

In a blender process blueberries, milk, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour into a 9-inch square dish or pan, cover and freeze for 4-6 hours until frozen. Garnish with blueberry/peach/raspberry and cinnamon sauce, if desired.

Blueberry/Peach/Raspberry and Cinnamon Sauce

I won third place for this recipe at the 2010 NC Blueberry Festival.

2        pints fresh blueberries

2        large peaches, peeled and sliced into 1-inch chunks

¼ (one fourth) cup raspberry jam

1-2     teaspoons ground cinnamon

In a large saucepan combine blueberries and cut up peaches. Cook on medium heat until blueberries begin to burst, about 8 – 10 minutes. With a potato masher partially smash the blueberries and peaches. Continue to cook gently and add raspberry jam, stir until jam is thoroughly dissolved. Remove from heat and add cinnamon, stir completely and pour into jelly glasses or jars.


Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.