Blueberries for Sal. What a great summertime read. We received the book from one of my dear friends, Suzanne, before Alister was born. Beautifully illustrated, it tells the story of a mother taking her child to pick blueberries at the same time and place that a mother bear takes her cub. After a slight mix-up between mother and child, it has a happy ending with Sal and mother back in the kitchen canning blueberries. We love the book, and there is no better time to read it than during blueberry season in the summer.
Having already given us the book, Suzanne surprised us again a couple of months after Alister was born. She stopped by to drop off fresh blueberries right out of the patch. They were the best blueberries I had ever tasted and I was determined to figure out the secret. Turns out, it wasn’t much of a secret at all – she hand-picked them from a pick-your-own orchard in the area.
Well a year later, we found ourselves introducing Alister to the deliciousness of blueberries and it was love at first bite. He cannot get enough of them, and so they have become a key ingredient in every meal he eats. We’re thrilled that his treat of choice is an antioxidant and fiber-rich treat, but we also knew that blueberry season would soon come to an end. But did it have to? If we stocked up while they were in season, then we could find a way to surprise our little buddy and sneak his favorite food back into his life throughout the Fall and Winter.
Remembering the delicious blueberries Suzanne gave us, we were inspired to do the same. We decided to try the same orchard/berry farm that Suzanne visited – Butler’s Orchard – even though we debated going back to the same place we picked apples and pumpkins last Fall. And what better weekend than this past weekend? The temperature dropped about 30 degrees from the previous week. And to make the deal a little sweeter, it was the final weekend for blueberry picking at Butler’s Orchard, but it was the first weekend for blackberry picking!
Here is a look at our blueberry picking adventure. Get ready to start SALivating!
A lovely day for picking berries. Mid-seventies, a few clouds, and very little humidity, unlike the swamp we are accustomed to around the DC area.
The blueberries were ripe and delicious for picking. To think we were concerned there wouldn’t be any left! I assure you our containers were overflowing.
See any similarities? Even the same disheveled hairstyle. Alister had just as much fun squishing the blueberries as he had devouring them.
After we realized Alister was having a little too much fun squishing the blueberries we picked, we gave him his own container and filled it with about a dozen berries instead of the hundred he was trying to smash. This seemed to entertain him for awhile. Well, at least for a few minutes while the dozen berries made their way from the container to his belly. Just as Sal did in the book, Alister took a few berries, dropped them into his container, and then ate them. Ku-plink, ku-plank, ku-plunk.
When we were done with the blueberries, we made our way over to the blackberries that were just beginning to ripen. You can see it was still early in the season, but I managed to fill a couple of containers with plump blackberries.
After we finished picking blackberries, we headed home and started making grand plans for our fresh picked fruit. Pies, crisps, ice cream, smoothies. We thought of it all. However, over the past few days, we have enjoyed eating them in their natural form. No added sugar necessary. Here is Alister taking advantage of the summer’s bounty, once again.
And once again. Nom nom nom.
Despite my good intentions to enjoy them in their purest form, it just so happened that our new next door neighbors moved in that day. What a perfect excuse to use some blueberries in a baked good (and then give it away so I do not devour it myself). After a quick google for the best blueberry muffins, I came across the following recipe that resulted in light, fluffy, almost cupcake-like blueberry muffins. If you are looking for a blueberry muffin that is a little on the sweeter side (for my taste) and received rave reviews online, here you go:
BLUEBERRY MUFFINS – recipe found here and listed below.
- 1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine, at room temp
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries or 2 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, mixed with
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Heat oven to 375°.
- Grease 18 regular-size muffin cups (or 12 large size muffins).
- In bowl, mix butter until creamy. Add sugar and beat until pale and fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating after each.
- Beat in vanilla, baking powder and salt.
- With spoon, fold in half of flour then half of milk into batter; repeat.
- Fold in blueberries.
- Spoon into muffin cups and sprinkle topping onto each muffin.
- Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and springy to touch.