On Friday, we went blueberry picking! When Peyton suggested we make a “Summer Fun List”, I suggested she crowd-source the family for a few additional ideas. Adaline’s contributions where: go blueberry picking, eat a lot of blueberries, and grow them, too!
We planted 2 bushes, and actually have been getting a little handful of blueberries every few days, which has absolutely delighted Adaline. We planned a trip into Spring Lake to check out Blueberry Hill. They are a U-Pick Farm. We left with 8 pounds of blueberries in our bucket, a few pounds in the girls (seriously, we should have weighed them before and after ????), and a few tips to share with you, so your trip to the farm goes off BERRY smoothly – hahaha, I couldn’t help it!
Did you know blueberries are number one in antioxidant activity – compared with 40 other commercially available fruits and vegetables. That means a serving of blueberries is jam-packed with antioxidant power you need to fight aging, cancer and heart disease!
Tips for Blueberry Picking
- Bring Cash. Many U-Pick farms will take cards, but not all. Be prepared by having cash! It may also help to call ahead to see if the farm is cash-only/how much it will cost per bucket.
- Plan for sun. Blueberries grow in the peak of summer. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat are a good idea – and don’t forget water!
- Bring your own Tupperware. Yes, most farms will provide you with a bucket to pick the berries in. However, at checkout, they will be poured into a brown paper sack, if you don’t have your own container. The sack works fine for a short trip home, but I prefer to bring my own container(s), so I don’t have to worry about leaks/smashed berries. I simply leave the containers in my car while we pick, then grab them before we check out.
- Know what berries to pick. There is NO shame in asking an employee for help identifying a ripe berry, but here’s a quick run-down:
- Select the fat, round blueberries with a light gray-blue color
- A berry with any hint of red isn’t fully ripened.
- White/green colored blueberries will not ripen after they are picked; while blueberries that have already turned purple, red or blue-ish usually do ripen after they are picked (if they are kept at room temperature)
- Commit to a bush. Your kids will likely want to dart from bush to bush, but if you pick a bush, and commit to picking it clean of ripe berries, you will save SO much energy. (This is especially helpful on those days when it’s in the 90s and the kids are already asking for water and you’ve been on location approximately 3 minutes ????)
- Get up in there. Sure, there are lots of berries sitting, just waiting to be picked, but I like to dig into the center of the bush. Ripe berries hide under leaves and near the very top! Don’t be afraid to really get into the bush!
- Ask about “jam berries”. Some farms sell pre-picked berries, that are juuuuust starting to go soft. They’re usually sold at a discount, and you can barely taste the difference!
- Leave them open. Don’t place the berries (which are likely still warm from the sun) in a closed bag or container. Leave the container open so moisture doesn’t form in the container and spoil your berries!
- Don’t wash berries until just before using, to prevent berries from becoming mushy. This is a pro-tip that is important with strawberries and raspberries too! It cuts their lifetime in half.
- Keep ’em cool. After picking, store your fresh blueberries in the refrigerator, without washing them, in a covered bowl or storage container. If refrigerated, fresh-picked blueberries will keep 10 to 14 days.
Then, all that’s left to do is start baking! What is your favorite thing to bake with blueberries? We may be making Blueberry Buckle this week, and I have my eye on this tasty-sounding recipe!