Blueberry and Japanese Yuzu Citrus Muffins, #TwelveLoaves

Funny how specific foods summon memories. Do you have any special associations with blueberries? Plump blueberries always bring to mind for me summer fun in Massachusetts. After another school year was over, I’d fly out of Haneda or Narita and head for my mother’s home in Cambridge for a month. (My parents divorced when I was 5. I lived with my Dad and stepmom in Tokyo.) 

Summertime Pleasures: Blueberry muffins accented with Japanese yuzu citrus.

Mom was the tennis pro at the Cambridge Tennis Club. Breakfast with my athletic mother consisted of yogurt crowned with European Muesli granola and blueberries. While Mom coached her tennis students, I spent blissful days watching I Love Lucy and other American TV shows.

The yin and yang of blueberries and yuzu harmonizes beautifully in muffins.

At day’s end, we’d boil hot dogs for supper. Dessert was the pièce de résistance:  scoops of ice cream heaped with mounds of Cool Whip and generously sprinkled with juicy blueberries bursting with sweetness. Note: The all-day TV watching lasted only for two summer vacations. Subsequent stays with Mom involved day camps. TV watching was curtailed in future visits…But I still got to see my favorite I Love Lucy and devour handfuls of blueberries.

A light, soft crumb is in the middle of each blueberry and yuzu muffin.

I’m joining the #TwelveLoaves bakers this month to celebrate summer fun. My sweet summer memories infused blueberry and Japanese yuzu citrus muffins are my contribution. Blueberry lemon muffins crossed my mind. But my taste buds smile with remembrances of the piquant zing of yuzu added to summertime salads and sashimi (raw fish) in Japan.

Japanese mythology refers to the yuzu tree as a holy one. The fruit is said to cure the sick….Maybe there is truth in legend. Yuzu is indeed a citrus. Just like lemons or oranges, yuzu is recommended for those who are ailing from flu and cold symptoms.

Sweet blueberries complement the slightly bitter yuzu.

Yuzu has a tarter taste than a lemon or a lime but like its cousins provides a pleasant pucker. The slightly acidic Japanese citrus fruit is a good foil for the sweet blueberries. My blueberry and Japanese yuzu citrus muffins are light summer fare. Perfect for a breakfast or snack celebrating summer fun!

Blueberry and Japanese Yuzu Citrus Muffins

Japanese yuzu citrus is said to contain antioxidants and 3 times the vitamin C of lemons. Besides the health benefits to the fruit, the piquant yuzu is refreshing and a wonderful wake up on a warm day.  The tart yuzu pucker and sweeter summertime blueberries provide a wonderful yin and yang in a muffin. 

Note: Yuzu juice is available at Asian markets and online. Lemon juice may be substituted. 

Adapted from the Food Network TV's Blueberry Lemon Muffin recipe.

  • 2½ cups flour
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated brown sugar
    (I used Dixie Crystals’ Free-Flowing Brown Sugar Shaker)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch of fleur de sel / sea salt
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup yuzu juice
  • 2 large room temperature eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups fresh blueberries, rinsed, drained and dried

Warm up the oven to 425 degrees. Insert cupcake liners into muffin tins. (This recipe bakes up 20 regular-sized muffins.)

Whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl.

In a separate microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter for about 30 seconds. (A saucepan set over medium-low heat will do the trick, too.)

Whip together the milk, eggs, yuzu juice and vanilla in another bowl. Slowly add the butter to the milk/yuzu mixture. Tip: Add the butter one tablespoon at a time to avoid scrambled eggs.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the combined milk, yuzu and egg liquid mix into the well. Stir until just combined to ensure muffins with a soft crumb. Gently add the blueberries. Tip: Use a wooden spoon or a Japanese shamoji rice scooper.

More summertime celebration recipes:

#TwelveLoaves July: Summer Fun. The month of June was filled with lovely CHERRIES! We have chosen Summer Fun as our theme for July. Let's share flat breads, rolls, buns, grilled breads - whatever sweet or savory version you'd like and whatever you feel reflects summer flavors! Whatever you bake, (yeasted, quick bread, crackers, muffins, braids, flatbreads, etc) have fun and let's have a delicious month of bread for SUMMER FUN! Let's get baking! 



#TwelveLoaves July: Summer Fun If you’d like to add your bread to the collection with the Linky Tool this month, here’s what you need to do!
1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone's posts. Please make sure that your bread is inspired by the theme!
2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of my blog. It must be a bread baked to the Twelve Loaves theme.
3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this July 2014, and posted on your blog by July 31, 2014. #TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess. #TwelveLoaves runs smoothly with the help of our friends. Thank you to Stacy from Food Lust People Love for hosting this month’s event!  

Wishing you summer fun!

The Ninja Baker

© ™ Watkinson 2012

The Ninja Baker has guest blogged and contributed recipes to numerous food sites. These additional recipes can be found here.



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