One of the many things I love about summer is all of the fresh fruits and vegetables that are abundantly available this time of year. Especially berries and especially strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. We missed strawberry picking season around here because of vacation, but we came back just in time for blueberry season.
Last Friday was just gorgeous - sunny with just a few clouds, upper 70s, and a nice breeze - so the boys and I took advantage of the weather and went to pick blueberries. What luck too - with blueberry season peaking in July, blueberry picking can be quite miserable - hot, humid and buggy. We picked our blueberries at a local farm about 30 minutes away. It was a great place to pick - lots and lots of rows of blueberry bushes and all very well maintained.
The boys and I got to picking and in no time, we had just over 10 pounds of blueberries! The older one and I tend to get a little carried away - we get in the zone and could probably pick all day long. My younger son gets bored much faster which, in this case, was probably a good thing. Left to our own devices, my older son and I probably would have walked out with 30 pounds a piece!
Quite a bit of our haul went into the freezer for smoothies or baked goods later in the year. (The rest are in our fridge where I'm hoping they keep for at least a week or so - I love to have them sprinkled on cereal in the mornings.) Several sites recommend NOT washing the berries before you freeze them - washing first can toughen the skins. The last time I tried to freeze blueberries, I was not at all happy with their texture, so I decided to heed this advice. I spread them out in jelly roll pans, popped them in the freezer overnight and then placed them into freezer bags. However, I have read that there is no need to do this - apparently they will freeze quite nicely - without clumping together - if you just throw them straight in the bag. I definitely plan to try this next time - the easier the better! I've also read that if you buy them in the store, you can pop them container and all, straight into the freezer - hard to believe, but several folks over at the CLBB swear it works.
Our first blueberry treat was a blueberry cobbler. I tend to prefer crisps, but decided to try a cobbler this time. I went to a trusted source, Cook's Illustrated, for the recipe. The recipe came out quite nicely, but we accidentally overdid it on the cinnamon. Usually this would not necessarily be a bad thing, but I think in this case, the extra cinnamon gave the cobbler an odd taste, so it's hard for me to fully evaluate this recipe. I did like the biscuit topping quite well - it did not get soggy and the cornmeal added an interesting flavor dimension.
I've also managed to make a Blueberry Buckle and a very quick and easy Blueberry Coulis - I'll be sharing those recipes later on this week. But that's not the end of the blueberry recipes! I've got plans to try a blueberry stuffed French toast and blueberry ice cream.
Hmmmm...blueberries are certainly very good for you, but I'm not sure about all the ways I'm choosing to make use of them! If, like me, you've found yourself with a bounty of blueberries, you might want to check out some of the great recipes folks are sharing over on the CLBB.