Hi. Remember me? Once upon a time I blogged here. (For years and years, actually.) But then somehow life happened. It was homesteading meets small business ownership meets freelance writing and the upshot was me ignoring this space for days on end.
The funny thing is I have dozens of posts that I've planned – some I've even photographed and partially written. But then this pesky "life" things gets in the way and here we are, lost in radio silence.
But this morning I set an alarm for you, my friends. An actual alarm. I know. Feel the love.
So let's start again. And let's start here. With so many blueberries.
I'm a cool weather girl. I know you summer people delight in the oppressive heat and the air like a wet blanket thrown haphazardly across your face. Me, not so much. I'm all about September. September! Cool, crisp, and I don't feel like I'm going to suffocate on air. Oh, and there are apples.
But what really pulls me through the summer are the berries. They ripen in succession year after year and somehow their predictable unfolding makes me feel that if there are berries to be had, then summer won't kill me. Yet.
As soon as Wisconsin heats up a bit in June and I'm wondering why I live here, the strawberries begin to ripen. Strawberries in June; wild berries next; blueberries in July and early August; and raspberries just after.
It's like hope you can eat.
And of all the berries both wild and tame, blueberries win in my book.
Blueberries are our favorites to pick, our favorites to eat ourselves sick on right there in the field. They are our favorite to make into jam and our favorite to fill up the freezer for winter treats.
We love them enough that we drive an unreasonable distance every summer to pick them at a sustainable berry farm a couple of hours from home.
And every year on the drive home we wonder, "How hard could it be to grow blueberries?" and then do nothing more with the thought until the following summer when the blueberries are ripening again.
Most years we drive to the farm twice. This year was no exception.
Once with my mom and once with Pete (his first trip to the farm ever), the kids and I piled into the car and headed up the river. Two long drives, two picnics by the car, two days of adults picking as fast as we could and kids picking (eating) and picking (and eating) and asking when we can go home.
But those two days yielded nearly fifty pounds of berries to enjoy until next August.
FIFTY. Yeah, baby.
What do we do with so many berries? First, I throw around the word "superfood" a lot, just to annoy my kids. Then we start pouring the berries into zip bags to store in the chest freezer in the basement. (Just scoop in and freeze. No need to spread out on a cookie sheet and transfer to to bags. Because who has time for that?) And we always have a bag in the upstairs freezer where they are easy to grab anytime we want them.
That bag is in and out of the freezer from morning until night. We pop them into pancakes in the morning and dump them into smoothies. We add them to fruit salad and stir into yogurt. They are for weekend muffins and treats of homemade ice cream. And if you ask my boys they are definitely for midnight snacks. We even dehydrated some to add to granola and homemade trail mix. Yum.
Need recipes? I'm here for you.
Here is my favorite blueberry jam recipe, done three ways. (Blueberry-basil was the surprise winner over here, but we really loved the others as well.)
Inspired by this wonderful children's book (which sparked many meaningful conversations about race, gender, and history in our house), Lupine made a blueberry fool that absolutely knocked my socks off. It might be the best thing I've ever tasted. (No exaggeration.) Though Lupine is working on her own recipe to share (since she modified the recipe she used quite a bit), she would like you to know that Martha Stewart really knows her way around the kitchen and has a mean blueberry fool recipe to share. Now you know.
And if you make ice cream, here is my favorite ice cream recipe evah. If you don't make ice cream I have nothing more to say. (Except why? Whyyyy?)
Oh, and if you know me at all you know that we had blueberry crisp for dinner on picking day. Because that's just how we roll.
What's your favorite way to use up summer berries?