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American Blues

June 29, 1986|BETSY BALSLEY | Betsey Balsley is food editor of The Times

Not too many years ago, Southern Californians could only get fresh blueberries during the summer months. Now, thanks to winter shipments of New Zealand berries, we can enjoy the fruit almost year around. But although we are grateful for the contribution from down under, we can't help being a bit chauvinistic about our own, native crop. When summer's bounty of blueberries arrives in the markets soon, take the opportunity to try your hand at some classic recipes. The results--from shortcake and fritters to a crunchy granola-berry bar--make fresh American berries worth the wait.

PRODUCED BY ROBIN TUCKER ACCESSORIES FROM GREEN DOLPHIN STREET, PASADENA BLUEBERRY CRUNCH BARS 1 3/4 cups granola, crushed 1 1/2 cups flour cup brown sugar, packed 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted 1/2 teaspoon soda teaspoon salt 2 cups blueberries 1/2 cup granulated sugar 3 tablespoons water 2 teaspoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons cornstarch

In large bowl, combine granola, flour, brown sugar, butter, soda and salt. Mix well. Measure 3/4 cup mixture and set aside. Press remaining mixture into bottom of greased 9-inch-square pan. Bake at 375 degrees 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in medium saucepan combine blueberries, granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Cover and bring to boil. Uncover and simmer 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. In small bowl combine remaining tablespoon water and lemon juice. Gradually stir in cornstarch, mixing until smooth. Gradually add cornstarch mixture to blueberry mixture. Cook and stir about 30 seconds or until thickened. Spread filling over partially baked base to within inch of edge. Sprinkle with reserved cereal mixture. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Cool and cut into bars. Store in tightly covered container in cool dry place. Makes about 18 bars. BLUEBERRY FRITTERS 1 cup pancake mix 1/2 cup milk 1 egg, beaten 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup blueberries, rinsed and drained Oil for deep frying Powdered sugar

In bowl combine pancake mix, milk, egg and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Lightly stir in blueberries. Let stand 5 minutes. Drop batter by teaspoons into oil heated to 375 degrees. Fry about 1 1/2 minutes per side, turning when brown on underside. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes about 2 dozen.

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