Ginger Is The Secret Ingredient For A Livelier Blueberry Bread

Blueberries, whether they're used in pies, cakes, or beverages, are often teamed up with lemons, with one such example being our lemon-blueberry cake recipe. Still, blueberries also go well with other, more unexpected ingredients such as bananas and peanut butter, both of which feature in our blueberry smoothie recipe. Some cooks have even experimented with using blueberries in homemade pasta, which is certainly one way to liven up a lasagna. Mashed developer Patterson Watkins, however, isn't doing anything quite so out-of-the-basket with her blueberries. Instead, she pairs them with ginger to flavor a quick bread.

Ginger isn't exactly a "secret" ingredient in Watkins's ginger-studded blueberry bread recipe, since it's right there in the name. The bread is also made with both fresh and candied ginger, while the powdered sugar glaze is thinned with ginger ale. So why does Watkins opt to use so much ginger in her blueberry bread? In her opinion, "The sweet burst of blueberry and the tangy pops of aromatic ginger really make this loaf a way above average option." She also notes that both ingredients are quite nutritious, so there's that.

Why is this bread made with two kinds of ginger?

Many sweet recipes call for candied ginger, and some even specify that it be crystallized — this is the kind that's rolled in an outer coating of granulated sugar, making it extra crunchy. The reason why Patterson Watkins likes using crystallized ginger in this bread is because, as she points out, the sugar coating helps to keep the ginger chunks suspended in the batter.

Okay, so why the fresh ginger in addition to the candied kind? Fresh ginger is something you'll more commonly see used in recipes for savory dishes since it is powerful and pungent. Watkins, however, feels that a tea bread flavored with just candied ginger alone (plus blueberries, of course) isn't quite flavorful enough for her palate, so she adds a few teaspoons of chopped fresh ginger to the mix.

As the amount of fresh ginger is much less than that of the candied kind, there's less of a concern with the chunks sinking to the bottom of the cake. If you don't mind the possibility of scraping your knuckles, you could always skip the chopping step and grate the root with a microplane zester. Yet another option would be to swap out the fresh ginger for ¼ to ½ teaspoon of ground ginger, stirring this in along with the flour and other dry ingredients.