Hi Ho, Hi Ho, a Pickin’ We Will Go

If you guys blog, I know this has happened to you – you have at least 3 ideas for new posts, and one you even have done the photos for – and that’s significant – and you’re only a day away from posting.  But then something happens, and bam!  All those old ideas are pushed to the back, and the new ‘something’ takes over everything.

Yeah, that’s what happened to me today – and what was it that derailed those other ideas?  Blueberries.

Earlier this year, I had signed up to a blog notice from one of our local blueberry farms to let me know whenever they opened a new field for U-Pick – if you don’t get that kind of info, you take the chance of getting there and finding only left-overs, after many others had already gone through multiple times and cleaned out the bushes – to be first one into a new section makes picking so easy, you could, as one old guy told me, ‘… get your 5lb bucket filled on one bush!’  He was not exaggerating – timing is everything!

Picking blueberries is perhaps the the top of the chain when it comes to U-Pick (my opinion, of course), you don’t need any special supplies (they provide the picking buckets), you pick standing up (as say opposed to strawberries, etc.), there are no thorns (as opposed to many other berries), the ripe berries come off easily – unripe ones stay attached, and it’s a clean, dry, summer sport, where your competitors are friendly as well.  And when you get home, the processing of blueberries is easily among the best too – you don’t even clean ‘em off (the ‘book’ says don’t clean them until you intend to use them) – you just spread them out on a sheet pan and freeze them – once frozen, you transfer them to freezer bags, or in our case, into mylar bags for vacuum sealing – then into the freezer they go.

Zip-Zap, simple as that!

Here are a few more shots of our summer fun – and then I’ll sign-off by giving you a recipe for our favorite blueberry muffin (which we all know by now is really a blueberry cupcake – right? – Yeah, it’s still one of the best things you can do with blueberries.).

First, Stop and Get Your Picking Buckets

Then, Walk On Down to the Lower Meadow

Now, Find a Row Where the Bushes Are Loaded

This One Looks Good to Me

Yup, That’s Sandee on the Other Side of the Bush

Here Are the Pros – On Their Way to 80 Pounds! For a Year’s Supply of Smoothies, They Said.

This Small, Family Operation Also Processes and Sells Commercially

The Moment of Truth! At $1.65 Per Pound

Ready For the Freezer

Doc’s Blueberry Muffins
(any fruits, fresh or dried, may be subbed)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Put the dry ingredients together:

  • 2.5 cups of sifted cake flour
  • 1 cup sugar (or if you wish to limit your sugar intake, use 1/2 cup Splenda or less, if your taste has sensitized to Splenda)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda (if using buttermilk)
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • Also add your fruit now (if using fresh blueberries, I’d add about 2 cups – moisten them and sprinkle a few Tbs of flour over them and mix in – this will keep them from sinking into the muffins)
  • Set aside.

Put the wet ingredients together:

  • 1 cup buttermilk or milk @ room temperature
  • 2 beaten eggs @ room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (if your milk and eggs are cold, mix them with dry ingreds before adding melted butter)
  • Set aside.

Once the oven is ready, grease a muffin pan (or use those muffin papers that I dislike!) – once your pan is ready, you can put your wet and dry ingredients together (do not do this too early, or you risk losing a good deal of your muffins’ rise) – Immediately, put the batter into the muffin pan – make sure the batter is evenly distributed and sprinkle each muffin with a bit of granulated sugar, large crystals if you have it – now, quickly get the pan into the hot oven.

Bake for 22–25 minutes and test with a toothpick or a pointed knife for doneness – if done, remove to a cooling rack.  As soon as you can, it’s a good idea to loosen and tilt the muffins in their pan to allow them to quickly cool without steam destroying the crisp shell of the freshly baked muffin.

###

You may certainly immediately tuck into a just baked muffin, but they do tend to break open a little nicer given 10-15 minutes resting time.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll play with these ingredients and their proportions, to your own liking. For instance, you might make these healthier by subbing whole wheat flour – adding ground flax or oats or seeds or nuts – using thinned yogurt instead of buttermilk, etc.

Enjoy – and get out there and get some berries of your own.

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About drfugawe

I'm a guy with enough time to do as I please, and that my resources allow. The problem(s) are: I have 100s of interests; I have a short attention span; I have instant expectations; I'm lazy; and I'm broke. But I'm OK with all that, 'cause otherwise I'd be so busy, I'd be dead in a year.
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12 Responses to Hi Ho, Hi Ho, a Pickin’ We Will Go

  1. Glenda says:

    Doc, Those blueberries look wonderful. They are so big. You are very lucky. We only get fresh strawberries in Perth. It is not cold enough for blueberries and their mates. Oh well, you can’t have everything.

    • drfugawe says:

      Now you’re making me feel bad. OK, how about my list of things I’d love to grow, but can’t – peppers, eggplants, corn, melons, lemongrass, most types of figs, all citrus, avocado, papaya, pineapple and in most years, even tomatoes. And I’d bet you can grow all of those.

      • Glenda says:

        Hi Doc – Its not the right climate for pineapple or papayas here – they need it tropical. You have to go to Queensland to grow them. All the others – easy peasy. We have 3 lemon trees, a lime, a mandarin and an orange all absolutely laden and I just can’t think what to do with them all. We also have a kafir lime in Perth. We usually take the limes and the lemons to the local icecream shop but last year someone got in before us.

        • drfugawe says:

          Whoa Glenda! You said the magic word – kafir. Would you be at all interested in doing a swap of whatever for a few kafir seeds? Not even sure if such a thing is possible – I’ve got a big, long story all about that – but I won’t bore you with it unless you’d be interested in a doing a swap – if interested, use my email found in About Drfugawe.

          • Glenda says:

            Sorry Doc, no seeds. I don’t think it is hot enough here to get any fruit. Our Kafir lime is in a pot and we grow it for the leaves. They don’t fruit in temperate climates do they? If it ever fruits, I will let you know.

            • drfugawe says:

              Awww … I’m surprised to hear that your potted kafir does not fruit – over the years, I’ve grown sev kinds of citrus indoors in pots, and most eventually produced fruit – I’ll just keep my antennae sensitized. Whatever, I enjoyed the brief culinary thrill – thanks!

  2. We don’t get to pick blueberries here – at least I don’t think we do. I must check it out. Looks like a wonderful day out, Doc! :)

  3. Great post Doc. My mother still goes out and picks a ton of wild blueberries in the summer and I love ‘em. Gonna have to show you some pics of my garden. We’re off for the weekend, talk to you later!

    • drfugawe says:

      Yo amigo! I hope all goes well, and that you guys are enjoying the summer – last I heard, ya’all were enduring brutal heat (and I bet no AC!) – well, that’s what you get for living in the land of extremes – Now, if you lived out here in western OR, you’d be subject to a temp range of 40-60F all year long! Our summer has yet to begin – for real – the tomatoes are complaining, but the lettuce loves it.
      Yeah, I’d love to see the garden.
      Enjoy

  4. Joanna says:

    Blueberries are getting more and more popular here too, though we import them into the UK continuously throughout the year from everywhere from Peru to Poland to of course Spain, which is the main source of fruit and veg when our harvest is playing up. I have a little bush in my garden in a ericacious bed because all our soil is very alkaline and as you know blueberries really only thrive in acid soil. This year though it didn’t do well and looks half dead. Wish I could find me a U Pick farm like yours – Great post Doc!

    • drfugawe says:

      Hi Jo, Glad you enjoyed it – I had a nice row of 12 bushes planted here years ago, and they got about waist high, and one by one they died – found out later that I had planted them in an area with a high water table, and they died from root rot. But we love them.
      I’m very happy to hear from you, Jo – hope your summer is going well.

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