Saturday, July 10, 2010

Picking Bluberries in the Rain

Just had a fabulous morning picking blueberries in the rain. I don't mean a little sprinkling, I mean a completely drenching downpour, and it was wonderful. We headed to Jones Family Farm again and arrived just as the gray clouds were starting to roll in. We got about 10 minutes of picking in before the drizzle came and just kept picking. We hung a piece of fabric over the edge of one bush and tucked the kids beneath it to pick, eat and stay slightly dry. My heart was racing with excitement from the moment we arrived. All the berries, the kids (who's attention span would limit our picking time), and  the impending rain. My thumbs worked quickly dropping berries as fast as I could. The bushes were heavy with berries, growing in clusters like grapes, branches sagging to the ground. It was just thrilling. 

In the end we only picked for  20 minutes or so. We got about half a flat filled, and only a few hours later have eaten many handfuls off the top. Hoping we can save some to bake a pie (by request of my 6 year old), freeze some for smoothies or use some to make one of these other great desserts (below). Blueberries and nectarines or peaches make a wonderful combo (although the peaches around here aren't ripe yet).  

Blueberry Buckle
An old fashioned cake with a great name! I first came across these treats almost 15 years ago at a farmers' market in Cambridge, MA. Two young pastry chefs from Salamander restaurant where I was working at the time started selling baked goods at a local market held in the Harvest Coop parking lot. The buckle is a square of buttery coffee cake, thoroughly stained with fresh blueberries and a sprinkling of coffee cake crumb top. I haven't made this in years, and just found this recipe online, it looks like a good one, but let me know what you think. I'll try it as soon as it cools down enough to turn the oven on.

Blueberry Dumplings
I'm probably one of the last people you'd think would recomend a Paula Deen recipe, but I happened to see her do these blueberry dumplings a few years back, and they looked (and are) delicious. Easy to make, fun, and not so heavy or sugary as some of her other stuff.

Check to find picking locations near you! look for places that use IPM (Integrated Pest Management) or are organically grown or ask if the berries or bushes have been sprayed. 

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