Sunday, August 30, 2009

Annual Blueberry Picking

(m.e. enjoying blueberry picking)

It has been forever since I last posted - shameful, I know. Life has been extremely busy, but I'm hoping to add more posts and recipes on a regular basis from this point on.

Part of the Clark family tradition is to go blueberry picking each summer. My dad takes this very seriously. He started it years ago. One day he came home with 50 pounds of blueberries. And we're not just talking any blueberries. These blueberries are the size of grapes. They are so sweet. The quality makes the blueberries purchased in grocery stores pale in comparison. Each year after that, as a family we have picked blueberries. I've now gotten Norris into the blueberry craze. This year we took Madeleine for her second year of blueberry picking - this year she was able to pick and enjoy the farm, but actually just ate blueberries off the bushes. I should mention that these are organic blueberries. We pick at a farm in New Jersey called Emery's. They also have fantastic preserves and pies.

This year, Norris and I picked about 14 pounds of blueberries. I used the berries to make jam and a series of muffins. Not only did we eat TONS of them, but blueberries freeze VERY well.

To freeze blueberries, do not wash them. Chill berries for approximately 8 hours, then place in quart sized freezer bags. Place in freezer and voila! You'll be able to enjoy blueberries for the entire year.

We happened to have many currents from our farm share. Being the American that I am, I am not at all familiar with cooking with currents. I decided to bring the best of both worlds together and make a current-blueberry jam. The jam is fabulous - the currents balance out the sweetness.

1/4 cup water
4 cups sugar

Wash and pick over the blueberries. Set them aside. Wash and drain the currants. Put them in a pot with the water. Bring them to a boil, stirring frequently, until the berries are popped and the juice is flowing freely. Strain well, reserving the juice and discarding the stems and seeds. Put the juice in a preserving kettle with the sugar, and bring to a boil. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add the blueberries, washed and picked over, and continue cooking for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the gelling point is reached. Put in hot sterilized jars, seal, and process in boiling water for 5 minutes.

Cooks notes: I do not have canning equipment, so I simply froze in plastic containers. I did boil a little longer than the directions state as I do not have a preserving kettle.