Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Berry Pickin' Time

I have a little passion for blueberries.  It's kinda in my blood.  You see my grandparents and my dad harvested wild blueberries in Nova Scotia for many, many years. 

The last two weeks of every summer for most of my life was spent in the blueberry fields.  I also had a summer job in blueberry research at the College I graduated from.  I have decorated my kitchen/dining room in a blueberry theme (not over the top tacky blueberry but just a few things that suggest it's my favorite fruit).  My good dish set is titled "Blueberry" and I have many beautiful pieces of pottery decorated with, you guessed it, blueberries.

But perhaps my most favorite decorative blueberry item decor is my rake.  Rakes are used to hand harvest wild blueberries and that's what we did every summer in August, gathered up a crew of kids and headed out to rake buckets and buckets of blueberries. I can literally hear the clanging of rakes, smashing of buckets and crates and my dad saying "over yonder" as I type this.

So I carted my rake from Nova Scotia to use as a decorative piece in my home never thinking I would have a chance to use it.  Oh, this is what the rake looks like. 

Wild blueberries are not as abundant in Ontario as they are in NS (from what I've been able to find) so instead of being able to use the rake for its intended use, for the last 7 years I've tied a bow and pine branches to it for a Christmas decoration.  

Until this July!  I finally got to dust that ol' rake off and use it to rake blueberries, at the family hunt camp.  I've seen the bushes there but have never been able to harvest the berries - either they have never produced or the bears have gotten to them first.  Well this year we hit it at the right time. And honestly, the taste of wild blueberries just can't be beat. 

The kids and my mother-in-law picked.  Actually Dustin and Emma spent most of their time eating.  I raked a container full. 

And then I spent many hours cleaning the berries!  That's the thing with raking, you get everything.  But I'd rather spend 2 hours in my kitchen, than 2 hours in a berry patch picking them one by one.  Here is the finished product ready to go into the freezer and some in my blueberry pottery bowl.

TIP: I laid the blueberries out on waxed paper covering a baking sheet.  I find they freeze better that way and are easier to grab just a few for a snack or baking.

I'll probably use most of the berries in muffins, smoothies and for my morning snack (low fat plain greek yoghurt with fruit).

What's your favorite blueberry recipe?


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