Ah yes, that plump little berry with that sweet, yet tart, bursting flavor that takes over your mouth and has you yearning for more…..
July is National Blueberry Month, and it’s perfect blueberry picking time here in northern Minnesota. Picking wild blueberries is a great way to enjoy being outdoors, and you get to take home lots of blueberries to eat. (Who wouldn’t want that?) Here, we’ve included some tips for wild blueberry picking along with a couple recipes for you….good luck, and enjoy!
1. What to wear:
- Long pants (be prepared to kneel on the ground all day)
- Lightweight long sleeve shirt
- Comfortable shoes
- A hat with a visor for sun protection
2. What to bring:
- A Duluth Pack with food and water to sustain you for the day
- Insect repellant and sunscreen
- Several 5qt plastic ice cream buckets for carrying berries
- A compass to keep you going in the right direction
- A buddy! Never venture into the woods alone – always have someone with you. It can be easy to be focused on the picking, and before you know it, you’re not sure where you are or how you got there.
3. Where to go and what to look for:
- Most serious blueberry pickers have an “I’d tell you but then I’d have to kill you” kind of attitude when it comes to revealing their secret blueberry picking spots. Nonetheless, be on the lookout for blueberry bushes along high, sunny trails or on the hills among rocks and cliffs.
- Also, finding trails around previous years logging sites might lead you to some blueberry bushes.
- Stay away from thick bushes and swamps (you’ll just get wet and scratched up, not to mention eaten alive by mosquitoes!).
4. Picking blueberries:
- Since the bushes are low to the ground, you’ll want to kneel and use both hands.
- Ripe blueberries are a light grayish blue and should be nice and plump.
- Avoid white or green (unripened), or dark blue berries (over-ripened)
- Pick the ripe blueberries off the bush and put them in your bucket and continue on.
Once you return home, dump the blueberries on a table covered with a towel and sort out the good ones from the bad ones.
What are your blueberry picking tips and/or amazing blueberry recipes?
Blueberry Drop Cookie Recipe
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened (I use Smart Balance sticks in this recipe with great results).
1/4 cup milk
1 cup white sugar
1 cup fresh (or frozen & thawed) blueberries. (I much prefer fresh, though).
1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, egg, and milk. Mix well after the addition of each ingredient. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; blend into the sugar mixture. Fold in the blueberries. Cover and chill for 4 hours (I actually skip this step most of the time, and they still turn out great).
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart.
3. Bake 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes about 3 dozen.
French Berry Pie
2 cups raw berries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Bring them to boil until soft. Add: 2 tbsp corn starch diluted with water, brandy, lemon juice or orange juice. When thickened and clear add 2 more cups of raw berries, 1 tbsp butter and 1 tsp cinnamon. Adding orange or almond extract is optional.
Pour into a baked and cooled pie crust and chill in refrigerator for several hours to set.