High Bush Blueberries.
This month, I’ve gone out and picked wild highbush blueberries from my Blueberry Grove a few times, at the back end of my field. They are challenging to get to, with a bum knee and ankle, and uneven ground with lots of ground cover (which was only tractor mowed before the last venture back), but I used my LL Bean hiking pole (I keep one by the back door, and one in the car), went slowly, and it was fine.
We were talking blueberries at the local Sunday coffee café (only open for about two hours on Sundays, at the Senior Center, but all ages encouraged), and one fellow mentioned the time he and his father went wild blueberry picking.
Highbush blueberry bushes can grow into the size of small, and wide, trees, with foliage for the full height of the tree. He assumed his father was on the other side of the tree, picking, and wondered why his father wasn’t responding to comments or questions, although the tree was obviously moving and being picked from the other side. So… he walked around the tree… and discovered a black bear there, picking away.
He left his nearly-full container of berries… and ran.
Well, no such problem for me today — and since I was going to be the only human around, if the shrub/trees started moving… I didn’t plan to investigate.
So anyhow, I got enough to make gluten-free blueberry buckwheat pancakes! Many are not yet ripe, either, so there will be more trips back – besides, I only hit up the nearest bush. My recipe from 2016 is found earlier in this blog, check here. Only thing, no one close enough by had buttermilk, and I wasn’t going to drive an hour’s round trip to get to a real supermarket – so I subbed whole milk. Buttermilk is better. But in a pinch!
Got back to the house, did a massive Tick Check (none seen) as the chickens don’t range that far.
Wild highbush blueberries seem to have a more concentrated flavor than the supermarket or your typical “pick your own” lowbush varieties – although I suspect the “pick your own” are going to be nearly as good, because you know they are as fresh as the day you picked them. They are definitely smaller – concentrating in that goodness?? – and not as juicy, but certainly not dry either.
They fruit best if they are pruned in late March up until mid April, but we still had snow out there until then, so I didn’t prune this year. My knee was definitely NOT ready for that then anyway! Since this is the first year I’ve been up here full time since purchasing the property, I admit I’ve only pruned them once during that duration — about seven or eight years ago. (I was pretty limber then, relatively speaking! And there was no snow late March then either.)
Blueberries are also great in yogurt, used with cheesecake, or plain ole eaten straight up! Yesterday a friend told me about freezing them (freeze them on a single sheet, then bag them once frozen so they don’t ALL stick together), melting dark chocolate in a double boiler, and pouring them over the frozen berries – to create a dark shell around bits of berry goodness! I will have to try this!
And, back to Homestead Blog Hop, where we delve into things homestead-worthy.