Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sustainable Saturday - How to Pick Blueberries

We are so fortunate, here in upstate New York.  We have a variety of local farms offering you-pick blueberries.  All of our commercial berries here are highbush.

No admission charge, either. (I understand some farms now charge admission to pick - which bothers me but maybe one of my readers can justify that practice.)

If you have never picked blueberries before, I wanted to take you through a picking session.

Yes, you will have to wear sunscreen, bring some kind of bug repellent (there are natural ones available if you wish), and wear a hat to ward off the sun.  You also should bring some water.  Children and grandparents are optional.  The lovely thing about blueberry picking is that almost anyone can participate. The plants do not have thorns, and you can stand up (or sit down) and pick. 

How do you know blueberries are ripe?  Well, in the picture above, the ones at the top of the picture are definitely not ripe. There will be berries in all stages on the bush.  The best way to judge ripeness is to see if the berry has 'bloom" on it - in other words it should look like it has a dusty whitish frosting on it  Your bloomin' berry should be firm.  Shriveled means "too late".

This is where children come in.  Many people pick at "chest" level.  They miss the low down berries.  Train your children to think low (low, but not touching the ground low) and they may get all the wonderful berries everyone else has missed.

Size (unlike in some things) does not matter.  In fact, some people think the smaller the berry, the sweeter.

You don't have to worry about deep buckets (unlike raspberries, which will squash).

Once you get the berries home DO NOT WASH UNTIL JUST ABOUT READY TO USE.  You don't want to wash the bloom off.  They will keep 2 weeks (I admit to keeping them longer) in the fridge.

What about nutrition?  Need you ask how many lists include blueberries as one of the best foods you can eat?

How to eat?  A lot of people like them with cream or sugar.  But I've always loved them "au natural".

What is your favorite way to prepare blueberries?


  1. I love them with cottage cheese - one of my fav breakfasts!

  2. We love blueberries in just about any way. I always freeze as many as I can (without washing them first), and we enjoy them all winter, in pancakes, pie (my son LOVES blueberry-cherry-rhubarb pie!), and in Cream of Wheat. I put the frozen berries on the bottom of the bowl, then plop the steaming hot cereal on top of them. The cereal thaws the berries while the berries cool the cereal.

    Blueberries are selling at our farmers' markets for $5 or $6 a quart! At the patch where I pick, they are a mere $1 a pound! We do have another patch nearby that charges a fee of $5 to get in, but, as long as you don't lose your ticket, that $5 gets deducted from the cost of the berries at the end. We've been there only once--someone actually yelled at my friend and me for eating berries as we picked! We thought she was joking, but she was dead serious!


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