Monday, July 19, 2010

Blueberry Picking 101

The most important thing to take with you is a toddler that knows their colors.
Tell said toddler to pick only the blue "bluebellies".

A few weeks ago, we were headed to Birmingham for a 3rd birthday party.  Shoutout to Caroline!
Since we were going to be on the road, we decided to make a day of it and head southwest of Birmingham and visit with Matt's grandparents in Demopolis.
We also decided that it was a great opportunity to stop at "The Farm" on our way into Demopolis and pick "bluebellies".

Tutoo and Papa, Matt's grandparents, planted numerous blueberry bushes a few decades ago.  They are still thriving!
Matt has fond memories of people wearing their "blueberry aprons" with lots of pockets on the front and sides to hold the berries as they were harvested.

We had to make due with grocery sacks.

Here is a pick of the bushes.  They are slightly overgrown this year because they haven't been pruned.

After we had a tutorial on how to pick the berries, we turned him loose.

He was very good at his job:)

Of course, Matt had to get me in "pickin' action"

These are the berries closest to the ground, they obviously hadn't gotten enough sun yet.

These are the berries a little higher up the bushes.

Our harvest after 20 minutes of picking.
It was super duper hot and humid.
I think Bubba could have picked all afternoon because he had a throwdown when we were packed up to leave.

After our "quick pick", we headed into Demop and had a nice afternoon visit with Tutoo and Papa.
It was a lovely way to spend a summer day!

BTW, it couldn't be easier to freeze your harvest until you are ready to use those little antioxident gems!
1.  Do not wash your fresh berries
2.  Place your berries, in a single layer, on a clean jelly roll pan (or a cookie sheet with a rim)
3.  Freeze until they are hard like marbles, it doensn't take long at all
4.  Place frozen berries in a freezer safe bag and store in your freezer

These berries are perfect for adding to banana bread, pancakes, muffins, oatmeal, cobblers, pies, etc.  The only thing is this...don't thaw them before you toss them into batter or something because they will turn into a mushy mess!  For example, if you are adding them to banana bread batter, simply toss a couple of cups of frozen berries into your batter and bake as you normally would.  For pancakes, sprinkle them on top of your batter after you pour it onto your griddle, flip your pancakes once and your good to go!

So, get yourself over to a "U-Pick Berry Farm" and harvest some goodness!

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