Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Annual Reward: Blueberry Edition

The abundance of fruit that comes along with summer makes me so happy.  With each crop that comes in, I indulge as thoroughly as possible.  If I can pick it myself, that makes it even better!  I was sad that it was looking like I was going to miss the blueberry crop this year.  The farms that I knew about were having so many pickers come during the week that they were closed on the weekend so the berries could ripen.  I was determined to pick blueberries, so I scoured the internet looking for other options.  That was how I found Silkey Gardens.  I am so glad I did!

I put a last minute call out for a blueberry picking companion that was willing to get up and out the door before 7am on a Saturday and Tessa answered the call!  We could not have asked for more perfect picking conditions.  The weather has been unseasonably cool and the morning we went, it was sunny but still chilly enough for hoodies and tennis shoes.  Probably because of the chilly temperature, there were absolutely no bugs bothering us.  The farm was only open for 3 hours and we were there for 2-1/2 of them and I could have stayed for so much longer!

I stuck to the blueberry patch, filled with blueberry bushes some of which were 60 years old.  I got over 10 pounds of berries which wasn't too hard because the picking was super easy.  Tessa divided her time between blueberries and raspberries and got a nice haul of each. We also made a stop in Northfield to visit the farmers market, coffee shop and a yarn store.  All in all, we had a pretty fantastic last minute day trip and ended up with plenty of berries to keep us busy for a large part of the weekend.

With my haul, I made a half batch of blueberry lemongrass syrup (recipe from Tart and Sweet).  I think my syrup turned out to be more of a jelly/sauce.  I tasted the warm sauce and found that the lemongrass was pretty subtle.  I hope the lemongrass becomes more evident when the sauce is cooled.

I also made a double batch of No-Sugar Blueberry Orange Jam from Gourmet Preserves.  Woooeeee! This is tart jam.  It is made with orange juice concentrate, orange zest, sliced oranges and blueberries so it is no wonder it is tart.  I just wasn't expecting it to be THAT tart.  I am hoping this one mellows out as it sits.  Yes, that is right, I am hoping one preserve gets stronger and one gets weaker as it sits.  That will happen, right?

In addition to putting a bunch of those blueberries in jars, I also put a bunch in my belly!

I put some in the dehydrator and some in the freezer, as well.  I haven't decided if the dried ones were worth it yet.  The texture turned out a bit funky (below photo shows them in the midst of the dehydration process).

Jars full of fruit are satisfying, kind of like a new pen, but tastier.

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