Sunday, July 17, 2011

Alaskan Blueberries

A native Alaskan woman, Belossa, asked me if I wanted to go blueberry picking and I jumped at the chance.  I love picking berries and eating them even moreso, but finding them is sometimes harder than you'd think...

Tip #1. Never reveal your favorite berry picking spot.  This may seem mean, but if you tell a few people, they'll tell a few and then the next time you go, all the bushes are bare. :-(  We had to check a couple different locations until we found an area brimming with delicious little berries.

Alaskan blueberries are about twenty times as potent as the ones you find in the grocery store- delicious!  The earlier you pick them, the tarter the taste and the smaller the berry.  I prefer mine tart, because I feel they start losing their potency when they fill up with water and get big.

Tip #2. If you are picking blueberries early in the season (mid July) keep the green berries too!  They are great for jams and jellies because they act as a natural gel.

Tip #3. Come prepared with a big bucket, strong back, and a bottle of water.  Time flies when you're picking berries! Don't try to rush and use a berry picker (a tool designed to pick them more quickly)- they pick up other debris, like sticks and leaves, and make the berries dirty. Then you still have to separate the berries at the end anyway. Berry pickers also harm the bush by stripping it and causing it to not grow any more berries.

After you've filled your bucket it's time to enjoy the fruits of you labor ;-). If you've picked more than you can eat in a week, freezing them is a great option.

Tip #4. When freezing blueberries, many people wash them and put them in ziploc bags. The only problem with that, is when they only want a few berries or to use them in pancakes, the berries are frozen in a large ice chunk.  Belossa shared that after washing the berries, sprinkling them on a cookie sheet will solve that dilemma. You "flash freeze" them for an hour or so and then scoop them into a ziploc bag. Now you can pull out individual frozen berries!

My personal favorite blueberry treat?

Tip #5. For achieving the perfect blueberry pancakes, pour the batter in the pan and individually drop them into the pancake- perfect every time!

Enjoy! (with REAL maple syrup or a little butter- yum!)

trying so hard... all she wants is to have a little bite!