Blueberries are the first fruit I pick in the year that I get to actually stand up for. As I ride up to the field behind a tractor, I can see the ripe fruit beckoning me.
I tend to go on Friday mornings rather than the weekends because I’ve found the weekends to be too frenetic for me. Many parents trying to give their children an experience, but not teaching them the proper etiquette that goes with pick your owns (keep to your assigned bushes, if you run out, they will assign you another bush). That isn’t to say that it doesn’t happen even on a Friday (it certainly did when I went out), but it’s lessened.
As people reach their limits and leave, there is still plenty of fruit on the bushes. I tend to simply stay in my row and pick the fruit that has been left. It’s a peaceful, quiet time and I feel better for not leaving fruit on my bushes. I don’t know what the pick your owns do (possibly send their own workers for a sweep to sell in their market and I hope so), but I don’t want the fruit to go to waste.
So I pick and I pick, until the heat and humidity gets too much for me. I ended up with 11 pounds of berries this year.
Before I do anything with the berries, they need to be picked over, stemmed and washed. Despite careful picking, both green berries and rotten ones make their way into my bucket. So I sit and go through each berry before I wash them, separating out the ones I choose to keep. I did very well this year, the detritus was less than 1/8 of a pound.
Blueberries are high in manganese, which helps with bone development and conversion of foods into energy and in Vitamin C. A cup of blueberries contains 84 calories and 17.85 net carbohydrates. I can add in blueberries as a fruit in small amounts in my low carb diet.
Most of my berries get frozen, ready for use throughout the winter in recipes, in shakes or in yogurt. I wanted two bags of them, and I managed to freeze that many. Freezing blueberries is fairly easy. I spread them out on small cookie sheets and freeze them individually, then transfer them to gallon freezer bags. This makes it easy to measure out berries.
I also saved out 3 cups along with some mint from my deck garden to infuse vodka with. I think the combination of blueberries and mint will work well. At least I hope so. I’m probably going to have to strain the mint out after a few days to stop it from getting bitter.
I ended up with just over 1/2 pint of sauce. Enough for a canning session. Do I wish I had more berries for sauce? Of course I do, but then again, while I’m picking, I just pick as much as I can. I figure if I need more I can go again. Since I got my two bags of frozen, I think I have enough this year.
I still want to go blackberry picking when they are in season. I’d like to have two bags for freezing and enough extra to make a blackberry/peach sauce.