Blueberries

We still have about a week or so of blueberry season around here. They apparently were a very good crop this year, something to do with a hot spring and a wetter than normal summer.

Brady and I went out and picked 4.5 pounds yesterday afternoon. Not as much as we had last year but we were a bit late in getting out to the patch we go to. It’s a nice drive, about 30ish miles from the house.

It’s a great place to pick. You can hear cows lowing in the background and when you pick your head up from the bushes you get a nice view of the lake. There are about 14 rows of blueberry canes, with about 40 or so canes to a row.

There is a second set of canes roughly the same size that are a few years old but not ready to pick from just yet. Here’s an overhead view where you can clearly see the canes and the proximity to the lake.


View Silver Lake Blueberry Patch in a larger map

I would sure love to be out in the sticks like these guys some day.

I’m not sure exactly what the approved way is on how to clean blueberries, but the method I use has always worked well.

  1. Sift through the berries removing obvious stems and flower remnants.
  2. Set a large colander inside a large mixing bowl and place in the sink
  3. Fill with cool water and place about 2 quarts of berries inside the colander
  4. Agitate the berries to remove any leftover goobers
  5. Berries that float may have imperfections or mushy sections, check these
  6. Remove colander to drain berries, place on dark towel (to avoid staining) to dry

Repeat the cleaning process about 2 quarts at a time. To store blueberries I always freeze them individually, actually, I do this for all the berries I freeze.

  1. Place dry (very important!) blueberries a single layer deep on a cookie sheet
  2. Place cookie sheet in freezer for a few hours (I usually just do it overnight).
  3. Using a kitchen scale, portion out 1 pound of frozen berries into a zip-top baggie or other container
  4. Seal multiple bags into a gallon bag
  5. Return to freezer

The great thing is, when they are prepped and frozen like this they can be used in the exact quantity required. So long as they were completely dry when initially frozen they will stay that way. It is pretty much just a bag of blue marbles at this point.

It is very easy to reach in and get a handful at a time like this. I portion them into pound bags just because when we bake with them that about the quantity we use. It also conveniently turns out that a pound of blueberries is roughly equal to a quart in volume.

Prices were extremely reasonable, I paid $5.75 for 5 pounds. It turned out there was a bit of rounding going on since, during my portioning, I found that we actually only had 4.5 pounds. I gave the fella out there $6 and still consider it a bargain.

Last price I saw at the grocery store was $3 for a pint which makes the retail value of my berries about $27. It only took about an hour, although they were harder to get than least year since we spent the same amount of time and pulled 8 pounds last year.

It was a fun afternoon to boot, thanks for the invite Shawna, it’s a date for next year for sure!

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