Several years ago, when Simon was in preschool, I decided that one cool thing for us to do together would be to go to a local farm and pick our own berries. We were in Denver at the time, and there were several farms in the vicinity that were open to this. I was a mom on a mission to get my child to eat healthier. He wouldn’t touch fruit – unless it was applesauce. My idea was that if we made it an event, an adventure in food gathering, then maybe he would be more interested and open to trying them. While he did try them, Simon is still not an avid berry eater.
What I hadn’t realized before that was that the berries you buy in the store can’t touch the ones that you pick, sun-ripened from the bushes. Better than candy. Sweet and with a hint of tart fruit.
When I moved back to the South, I tried to grow raspberries in my garden. They lived for about 6 months and died. I guess that is using the word “lived” a little loosely. They were probably dying a slow death the entire time. Take a quick review of offerings at our local farmer’s market and you’ll see that raspberries don’t generally grow around here. But blueberries and blackberries do!
Last weekend, I visited the Nesbit Blueberry Plantation as early as I could manage on Saturday. So that you can pick two-handed, the nice people running the operation give you a rope and quick square knot tutorial, in case you weren’t a Scout. You attach this contraption around your waist and follow your guide to a couple of choice bushes and set to picking. Our first bush was right next to a bush with a little family picking. My favorite part was listening to the little girl (maybe 5 or 6 years old) talking about what she was going to do with all those blueberries. Muffins. Pancakes. Cereal. Frozen. Waffles. No, not waffles, because those are too much like pancakes. Ice Cream. Cake. Milkshakes. This little girl had some big plans for her berries. She was an inspiration for the rest of the picking time. My husband and I picked until we had 2 gallon buckets filled.
When you look at that relatively small gallon bucket, it’s hard to imagine just how many blueberries that gives you. You can roughly figure XX number of pints within that (which is how I usually buy blueberries), but if you’re anything like me, that full bucket doesn’t become a reality until you start measuring out your first projects with it.
Luckily for us, the first 2 projects came the same day. My husband made blueberry lemon muffins for breakfast, and I made a blueberry ginger pie in the afternoon.
This still left us with a full gallon and about a third of the other remaining. Jam will take up the rest of the first gallon easily. I’m thinking of a blueberry ice cream after that. Blueberry cheesecake. Blueberry basil popsicles. Blueberry shrub. More blueberry jam. Blueberry buckle.
What’s your favorite blueberry action?