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Feb 23, 2010 06:01 PM

Blueberries turning batter green in muffins?

I made blueberry muffins for the 2nd time this week and again, I noticed that my batter was green on top (where there was contact with air), but once I stirred it, hte underside was just a purplish bluish tinge (used frozen berries, some of the juice mustve stained the batter). Why is this? I also noticed the cup where I had stored my berries and later mixed my flour, baking powder, and baking soda, some of the bits of flour were green. What causes this?

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  1. Blueberries contain certain pigments that will cause them the turn green in the presence of alkaline. Your muffins probably included baking soda as an ingredient and that's enough to create the color change.

    1. Try tossing your blueberries in a bit of the flour. I have found that this reduces the color bleed, and allows the berries to remain distributed throughout the batter instead of sinking to the bottom. My kid tosses the berries with sugar for the same reason, and she likes stuff sweeter than I do.

      1 Reply
      1. re: smtucker

        Tossing the berries in a little flour or sugar will coat them enough that they shouldn't 'bleed' into the batter.

      2. So then, should I not add the baking soda to the flour that I'm tossing the berries in since that's whats causing the green color?

        1 Reply
        1. re: lyntc10

          I'd say yes, put the baking soda in with the flour for the batter, and as an aside use another bowl to put the blueberries in and then sprinkle with a bit of flour, just enough to coat, and try and keep the berries stil frozen. Then you'll have less bleeding, plus it helps to keep them from sinking to the bottom.

          Just fold the floured berries into the batter before putting into the baking pan, or muffin tins.

        2. Or, find a muffin recipe that uses baking powder as the leavening, My fallback blueberry muffin recipe--purported to be the actual Jordan Marsh muffin recipe--uses just baking powder, no baking soda.

          3 Replies
          1. re: janniecooks

            That may help, but keep in mind that baking powder too is a combination of both alkaline and acidic ingredients to it too may generate that greenish cast to your baked goods. If you want to eliminated the greenish colors, Blueberries actually worked best in yeast leavened recipes which, of course, wouldn't include muffins. You might want to try a very small amount of red food coloring in your muffin batter which, when combined with the green shades, should create something closer to a light brown/tan which would be more natural.

              1. re: todao

                In theory, at least, the "greenish" cast would be cancelled out if the balance of acid to alkali were even. The pigments are anthocyanins, which turn cyan ("greenish" in alkali), magenta ("reddish") in acid. As mentioned raspberries also have similar compounds - and in fact the reason that raspberries are red: because they're fairly acid, while blueberries are blue - they're more alkaline, hence the balance moves closer to cyan (magenta+cyan = blue).

                Baking powder ought to be fairly close to neutral overall, which should yield a purplish-blue. But as has been mentioned if you toss the blueberries with flour, the juice is contained. Also it's better, when using frozen blueberries, to incorporate them in frozen (that's what I always do) and bake immediately; it's the defrosting that causes juices to leak. Of course if you use fresh berries this shouldn't be a problem.

            1. I knew you were going to say that it was frozen blueberries. Personally, I think frozen blueberries are good for purées and smoothies and not much else.

              Use fresh blueberries and you won't have that problem. And, as fresh berries come into season, it might be worth knowing that you can greatly extend their life by rinsing them in hot tap water -- not warm, really hot -- for 40 seconds or so before you put them in the fridge. This rinse will take the attractive haze off blueberries but it *won't* affect the texture in the least. Meanwhile, berries you used to throw out after 48 hours (if they made it that long) will last the best part of a week.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rainey

                I discovered the same phenomena when using my own garden red raspberries. Of course, according to the recipe, in order to not have the 'bleed' of the juice, I froze them, first.

                1. re: rainey

                  I have to disagree about the usefulness of frozen blueberries. We used to have a blueberry patch when we lived in the Willamette Valley, and routinely froze the excess (gallons and gallons by the end of the season) in 1 and 2 cup measures for baking all winter. The trick was to keep them frozen until ready to mix into the batter.

                  I thought they froze better and were more useful than any other berry.