Something I’ve been itching to do since moving to the Pacific Northwest is to go blueberry picking… and we finally did it (and crossed an item off our Summer Adventure List)! Blueberries are in season around here from July until mid-September.
We went to Bow Hill Blueberries in Bow, WA. I found them through a quick google search of U-Pick blueberry farms and it turned out to be such a great place. The berries are organic and prices are really reasonable – cheaper than buying organic blueberries at the grocery store. You have to buy a $5 “graze pass,” which allows you to pick and eat as many berries as you like. The price of the pass is refunded to you (deducted from your total) once you pick 10 pounds or more. Justin and I brought our A-game and miraculously picked EXACTLY 10 pounds of berries. The gal weighing our berries exclaimed, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen!” To which Justin and I exchanged a high five for our blueberry picking prowess and celebrated with Lopez Creamery blueberry ice cream made with heirloom Jersey berries from the farm.
Then came the part of figuring out what to do with 10 pounds of blueberries. Our apartment became berry processing central for a few days. Since berries don’t keep fresh for very long, I started by freezing a few pounds for later use.
TO FREEZE: Wash the berries under cool water, picking off any woody stems. Spread them out to dry on clean kitchen towels to dry. Once dry, arrange a single layer of berries on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for one hour or until berries are frozen. Transfer frozen berries to plastic freezer bags or mason jars to be stored. Berries will keep for 3-6 months.
I used the remaining fresh berries (the ones I didn’t gobble up by the handful) to make the following:
- Lemon Blueberry Muffins – Lower sugar than most recipes and nearly 3 grams fiber per muffin. Feel free to substitute maple syrup, honey, or other sweetener per your preference. Recipe below as well as a link to a very handy guide to baking with different types of sweeteners.
- Blueberry Lemonade – I’m not usually a fan of sugar sweetened beverages (not worth the sugar or calories, in my opinion) but this was SO refreshing! Next time I might add a bit of thyme, basil, or rosemary. I only used half the blueberry simple syrup and saved the rest for making cocktails like this one.
- Blueberry Butter – From the cookbook Food in Jars. Easy because you make it in the crockpot. I made a snack of rye crackers topped with soft cheese, nectarine slices, and a dollop of this butter. Fancy & delicious!
And for the berries in my freezer, I’ve got big plans for them. I thought 10 pounds was a lot of blueberries – maybe too many – but I found so many intriguing recipes that now I’m not sure we got enough! Here’s what I want to try:
- Blueberry-Coconut Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal
- Blueberry Maple Syrup – I might reduce the amount of maple syrup to let the natural sweetness of the berries shine through.
- Blueberry Chutney + Ricotta Crostini
- Roast Cornish Game Hen with Sautéed Blueberries
- Blueberry Salsa – Would be a good accompaniment to fish or chicken
Do you have a favorite blueberry recipe? Please share in the comments. Who else is SO excited for the fall season? It’s my FAVORITE time of year! From now until Christmas I’m all about pumpkins and cinnamon and jingle bells!
- 1 lemon
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk (see tip below)
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup white whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries or other berries
- Preheat oven to 400°. Coat a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray or with paper liners.
- Zest the entire lemon into a bowl using a fine grater. Add sugar and mix well. Add buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla then stir.
- In a larger mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon (if using). Add wet mixture to dry mixture and fold until almost blended. Gently fold in blueberries.
- Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake muffins until the edges and tops are golden, 20 -26 minutes.
- Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
Experiment using other sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. Here's an excellent guide for how to substitute alternate sweeteners in baking: http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/guides/tips_sweeteners.html
Recipe lightly adapted from Chicken Soup Brigade Pots & Plans